Neuro illumination: the combination of neuroscience and architectural design

Light has visual and non-visual components that affect people. The non-visual effects of light can positively or negatively influence circadian rhythms, which can lead to the appearance of certain diseases or illnesses if these rhythms are not synchronised with the natural light cycle. This is where the concept of neuroarchitecture and, in particular, neuro illumination comes into play.

Neuroarchitecture studies the relationship between spatial design and the emotional and bodily responses of human beings. When it focuses on the study of light as an important factor in the perception of spaces and the effects at a biological level in our brain, we talk about neuro illumination. This multidisciplinary field of neuroscience, architecture and lighting design is dedicated to studying how lighting directly affects people’s well-being, which is human-centric lighting that explores the connection between lighting and its effect on the brain. Beyond its role in visibility, lighting synchronises our biological rhythms. Appropriate lighting design can therefore create environments that promote health and well-being.

Principles of Neuroillumination.

  • Inclusive Lighting: Neuroillumination takes into account the specific needs of various users. Lighting solutions that can adapt to different intensity levels and colour temperatures are designed to meet these specific needs, providing a visually comfortable environment for everyone.
  • Productivity and Performance: Neuroillumination optimises concentration and reduces visual fatigue, thus improving productivity and cognitive performance. A well-lit environment, adapted to visual and ergonomic needs, can significantly boost efficiency in work and learning.
  • Mood States: Light directly influences people’s emotional state. Cooler, brighter colour temperatures increase alertness and concentration, while warmer ones promote relaxation. Adjusting the colour temperature of light based on activity and time of day can optimise positive stimulation. These adjustment settings have a visual as well as a non-visual effect, since these settings also allow the light spectrum to be modulated, having an impact on people’s well-being.
  • Circadian Rhythms: Neurolighting also addresses how light affects our circadian rhythms, the biological clock that regulates our sleep and wake patterns. Exposure to natural light during the day promotes alertness during the day and rest at night, while not getting enough light during the day or getting too much light at night can disrupt these rhythms and negatively affect sleep.

It is important to advocate for designs that improve well-being, performance and health, considering both the visual and non-visual effects of light. Adapting the strategies necessary to transition to human-centred lighting is essential to maximise the benefits of neuro illumination.

At KUMUX we are committed to research in circadian science and lighting and believe that, as research in this field advances, knowledge of neuroscience and architectural design is increasingly integrated to create spaces that are not only functional and aesthetically pleasing but also healthy and stimulating for those who live in them.

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