Thursday, August 30, 2012

Health and Lighting

Health and Lighting                                                                                     Sarah Mabry
                In new evidence and research is leading scientists to gain a greater understanding of how light is affecting our health.  For the past 120 years humans have been exposed to artificial lighting.  The exposure to light is impacting out health by increasing cancer rates, effecting Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.  Increasing cancer rates are beginning to appear in people who work at night.  Night shift working nurses are at a higher risk for breast cancer in particular.  Workers who chose to work at night are going against their natural circadian rhythms that allow the body to sleep.  Melatonin the hormone that is crucial for sleep is the link researchers are using to study why these rates are going up.  When working at night a person body is exposed to one bright light source.  The hormone melatonin is not released when the body wants to naturally with the changes in light.  Abnormal release of this hormone is not healthy for the body.  Researchers are also looking at the color of light and how that affects the brain.  Studies have been conducted exposing men to a blue light and a red light.  It has been shown that men exposed to the blue lights were having trouble going to sleep.  This was not the case with a red light.  More and more blue light is being used in technology and other products.  The exposure to these lights are contributing to how our health.  Designers are one of the crucial elements in building to controlling these issues.  The more knowledge designers have on the subject allows for change in occur.        

Light Relationships

Light Relationships                                                                                        Sarah Mabry
                The connection between light and place create the memories we keep of a place.  When first entering in a new space the light is what defines the place for us.  The light that surrounds the space is what first impacts the brain through our sight.  We can see the shape of the walls, the objects in the room and then the finishes used in the space.  Once the brain has determined all these elements, the memory of the place is imprinted on the brain.  If it is a space that is continuously lived or worked in the light is key for defining the place.  Light is a huge aspect of nature.  Nature comes to life with the light created from the daily rotation of the earth.  With the sun and moon rising in the sky day in and day out it allows for the beautiful hues of the grass, sky and other plants come to life.  The light is crucial for the survival of nature.  Without the bright light of the sun we would live in a barren, dark and undesirable outdoor environment.  Light is absorbed by the oceans, river and lakes creating the beauty of water.  Our oceans are a rich blue due to the light absorbed by the sun during the day then as night falls it turns to a shiny navy blue.  Light forms nature without it there would be no nature to be enjoyed.  The earth’s climate is determined by the light.  If it is a winter day we immediately know due to the light in the atmosphere.  Darkness falls early giving us the clue that winter is here signaling cold temperatures.  One trick Mother Nature places on us is in the middle of winter we can have a clear blue sky outside.  This clear blue sky can be very deceiving to us as humans.  When standing in the warmth of a building it appears to be nice and warm outside due to the light generated by the sun.  As soon as a person steps out the cold air reaches the skin and the brain immediately feels the cold.  The light plays a trick on the brain.  The light in certain climates is also defined by location.  The light in Miami is much brighter and warmer verses light in New York City.  Light is a clear signal of what time of day it is.  The brighter the light is a signal for daytime.  As the light begins to fade nighttime is approaching.  This is the signal sent by the earth’s movement that lets us know what we should be doing.  In the faint light of the morning we are rising then the fading light of the evenings we are settling down to sleep.  Lastly, light defines what tasks we should be doing.  In an office building bright task lighting is used to signal the time to work.  It wakes us up as we enter in the morning and keeps a person going as the day progresses.  Many times lighting such as this can be very uncomfortable.  It is dominating to a person.  Reminding everyone they are there to work.  In restaurants we see soft lighting telling us it is an intimate space for dining.  People can be together in quiet and romantic ways.  Lighting is the dominate element that defines a space for humans.  Many signals are gain about the space just simply from the lighting used.