The Feel of Light: The Atmospheric Potential of Coloured Illuminations

Stine Maria Louring Nielsen

Research output: PhD thesis


This PhD study is motivated by the increasing implementation of chromatic lighting in healthcare environments. Adding to current research on visual and psychophysiological effects of light, this study investigates how the body feels in different colours of illumination. As a means to this, social scientific research is carried out in three case-studies in a showroom-, field- and lab environment from a body-sensory approach, comprehending light as a generator of atmosphere and the human body as multisensory and felt. Analyses of ethnographic data collected in each case-study indicate how participants not only felt differently but also moved in different manners in attunement to the surrounding hue of illumination. Moreover, a linking of findings across case-studies indicates how different colours of illumination generally attuned particular modes of bodily presences in space – from predominant modes of being-there physically in cool white and bluish hues, and predominant modes of being-near in warm amber and reddish hues. As such, the PhD study points to a general atmospheric potential of coloured illuminations to attune the multisensory and felt body in architectural spaces.
Original languageEnglish
  • Hansen, Ellen Kathrine, Principal supervisor
  • Bille, Mikkel, Co-supervisor, External person
External collaborators
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Dissertation not published.


  • Light
  • Colour
  • Atmosphere
  • Bodily Presence
  • Sensory Experience
  • Body Movement


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  • The Midwifery Feel of Light

    Nielsen, S. M. L., 2022, Lighting Design in Shared Public Spaces. Sumartojo, S. (ed.). 1 ed. New York: Routledge, p. 65-82 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearch

    1 Citation (Scopus)
  • Beyond Vision: Moving and Feeling in Colour Illuminated Space

    Nielsen, S. M. L., Besenecker, U., Bak, N. H. & Hansen, E. K., 5 Oct 2021, In: Nordic Journal of Architectural Research . 33, 2, 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Moving in Colour Illuminated Space: An Exploration of Analyses

    Nielsen, S. M. L., Hestbech, E. -S., Bak, N. H. & Mullins, M., Oct 2021, Proceedings of the International Colour Association (AIC) Conference 2021. Newtown: International Colour Association (AIC), p. 349-354 6 p. (Proceedings of the International Colour Association).

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

    Open Access

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