Friday, July 8, 2011

Let there be light ...

There is a universal, human attraction to light. Only with light is there color in our world, and the sun's luminosity provokes us at a primal level. I gravitate to rooms that are influenced by sunlight and love the way skylights contribute to the atmosphere of homes and commercial spaces.

Image of Parisian loft featured in Swedish Elle Interiors.

According to Donald Kaufman and Taffy Dahl, authors of Color and Light, "Color in the sky is of a different type than color on the ground." That may be why skylights offer the most subtle and soft light, rather than the reflective light at ground level which provides more contrast and shadows.

The quality of natural light also varies from place to place. In the U.S., the veiled light of Carolina's outer banks differs dramatically from the stark light of the desert Southwest or the high, amplified light in the Northeastern states along the Canadian border.

Residential skylights bring in the beauty of nature's light in the images via Desde My Ventana (left) and The Telegraph (above).

The art studio of Ruben Toledo in New York benefits from a wall of celestory windows
in addition to the skylight above.

Ask any art historian why so many of the world's most famous painters chose studios in France as a base from which to work, and they'll tell you that it's the light that's so inspiring and flattering.  It makes colors flourish and creates, according to Kaufman and Dahl, "infinitely shifting nuances of warm and cool shades."

MM Designs, a graphic design studio in Paris, is bathed in natural, white light from skylights above.
Image via Lylybye

I was so impressed with a wall of windows in (what formerly was) the Paris atelier of the artist Henri Matisse, I added ample glass when planning my own studio. I have a retractable skylight that provides lots of natural lighting and allows me to open it for additional ventilation.

Here comes the sun ...

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