Inclusive Lighting Design: A Holistic Approach to Arquitectural Spaces

Recent years have witnessed inclusivity taking center stage in mainstream conversations, emphasizing the importance of catering to vulnerable societal groups. This cultural shift extends to architectural design, where a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer sufficient. UMAYA Lighting Design recently completed a project in Saudi Arabia, highlighting the significance of inclusive lighting design.

Lighting holds the power to influence individuals’ perception of their environment whilst affecting their sense of security and emotional comfort. For the disabled, thoughtful lighting design results in a substantive bearing on their daily lives.

UMAYA's project focused on three categories of the disabled, primarily those with:

  1. Physical Impairments: People with physical disabilities, including those using wheelchairs or crutches, who require consistent lighting levels to steer clear of obstacles. Controlling lighting levels helps them navigate comfortably and calmly.
  2. Sensory Impairments (Hearing/Visual): Visually impaired individuals need higher lighting levels and contrast for enhanced visual acuity, while glare should be minimized. Hearing-impaired individuals benefit from adequate vertical illuminance for lip-reading and sign language.
  3. Cognitive Impairments: Patients with cognitive impairments have heightened sensory experiences and require lighting that minimizes glare and offers personalization through tunable fixtures, which serves to positively alter their mood.

The project also addressed the unique needs of behavioral health spaces, aiming to create a more welcoming environment. Lighting was integrated into architecture to provoke a sense of freedom and control to reduce stress.

Lighting color temperature played a critical role, replicating natural light to align with patients' circadian rhythms. Dynamic lighting with various colors was used to reduce aggression and promote tranquility. For example, blue light therapy is a treatment for insomniacs.

Dimmability and scene setting were essential to accommodate diverse patient needs. A smooth dimming curve and flexible scene control were also implemented to avoid distressing patients and enhance visual comfortthereby reducing sensory overload.

In conclusion, inclusive lighting design goes beyond meeting standards. Designers must consider the unique needs of disabled individuals, striving to create spaces that cater to all stakeholders and promote well-being. This shift towards inclusivity is a crucial step in ensuring that everyone benefit from thoughtful lighting design.