Dark is the opposite of light and of course we all know that! Living in Singapore, we take our brightly lit streets and department stores for granted and why wouldn’t we? They are a constant in our everyday lives but try imagining Orchard Road at night without it – it would be lifeless, devoid of all its glamour…. a black and white sketch at best.
We use the word “light” so frequently that I doubt we stop and think of its meaning or its true purpose. How many times do we have ‘a light bulb moment’ when we find the answer to a problem or ‘see the light’ when we accept a situation? And we comfort ourselves and others when we state that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
Light is all around us, both natural and artificial. With the latter playing a significant role in our interiors. The placement of light is a vital aspect of interior design and works in conjunction with colour, room size, availability of natural light and furniture selection. These elements only truly come together when the right lighting is achieved, thereby transforming a room into a seamless combination of functionality and style.
One of my favourite examples of this is the Design Intervention interior below. Light comes from multiple sources; from the birdcage pendants to the Serip chandelier in the foreground and the natural light filtering through the window. As a result, the whole interior is alive with light, making it glisten and sparkle with intensity and variation.
In countries with specific seasons, the onset of winter and the waning of natural light influences the choice of clothing and seasonal colour ranges, menus and the decoration of interiors. Take for example this moody interior. Natural light is at a minimum but decorative lighting such as this customized wall light, plays a key role in the design.
Thank goodness for Spring which heralds brighter days, lighter, cheerful colours and a mouth-watering array of fruits and vegetables. One of the charms of Spring is the return of natural light with its promise of longer days and the opportunity for recreational activities. People shrug off the gloom and darkness of the winter months and feel the need to redecorate with fun colourful interiors which are fresh, bright and inspired!
However, no matter how much natural light we may enjoy through the day, the coming of night and the onset of darkness is inevitable, making us totally dependent on artificial light to dispel the gloom. These days, lighting is indeed an art form which we enjoy all around us but nowhere as much as in our homes. The era of down lights and track lighting is firmly in the past as lighting today has been taken to a whole new level. In a way, it has had its very own light bulb moment! It has become fun and vibrant, quirky and on occasion amusing. Designers have imbued their eccentricities into their creations and don’t we just love it.
Contemplating the wonders of lighting from a design perspective also reminds me of the unbelievable benefits we enjoy from unseen light – radio waves, microwaves, ultraviolet, X-rays and the list goes on. All this light has contributed to crucial advances in science and medicine and we are hardly aware of it! Can we envisage a world without international communication via the Internet? We would be left floundering and it boggles the mind to even imagine how helpless and bereft we would be.
So I am back to where I started and light is indeed the opposite of dark! While I crave the light and enjoy a sunny day sitting on a beach as much as anyone, I love the stygian darkness of my bedroom at the end of a long day, the guarantee of a good night’s sleep and some much needed rest for my tired brain. Renewal for us humans, birds, animals and nature requires a world that is not constantly lit, so bear with me as I need to flick off the switch and plunge my world into welcoming darkness…..