Flow of light: Balancing directionality and CCT in the office environment

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Human perception and vision have evolved in response to dynamic daylight, a combination of radiation from direct sunlight and diffuse skylight, which has created a flow of variations in light, in terms of direct:diffuse distribution, intensities and spectrum. This study investigates the qualities of the flow of light in an office after adding ceiling-mounted spotlights (32° tilt angle) to traditional diffuse ceiling panels. The intention is to create a flow of task light – a light-zone at each work-plane – complementing the directionality of the natural daylight inflow from the windows. An experiment was carried out in an office, in two parts. Four ratios of direct:diffuse light were tested by 30 people. Then one ratio was tested in five combinations of high, neutral and low color temperatures by 15 people in two daylight situations: overcast and clear sky. The visual light quality and perceived atmosphere of the office environment was tested through questionnaires, reaction cards and semi-structured interviews. The direct flow of light is recommended to be more than 15% of the total illuminance at the work-plane to provide the distinct visual appearance of modeling and a cozier atmosphere, which is preferable for socializing, and less than 45% to avoid glare and high contrast for visual tasks. Direct warm and diffuse cool lighting were perceived as the most natural but were not always preferred. There is an indication of slight preference for cooler ambient lighting in clear sky situations and warmer ambient lighting in overcast situations. Especially the preference in relation to sky conditions needs to be further investigated. A field study will implement these findings in a double dynamic lighting concept responding to daylight level and sky character. Strong individual preferences for combinations of color temperatures was identified, this open up new research areas for personalized flows of light in future dynamic lighting designs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLEUKOS, The journal of the Illuminating Society of North America
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)30-51
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Double dynamic lighting
  • direct and diffuse lighting
  • dynamic lighting
  • flow of light
  • office lighting


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