paul gregory: design the emotions

Mondo ARC interviewed Paul Gregory of Focus Lighting.  One passage in particular engaged me: Paul makes a plea for projects to actively plan for and design the emotions of visitors in a space.

 “Imagine a person’s emotional reaction to the beauty surrounding them as they stand in a forest with the light hitting the trees and the sound of a waterfall in the background. They will always remember that image. It’s the same thing with lighting the built environment—how does it contribute to the emotions that users feel when experiencing the exterior or interior of a structure? What are they going to see? What will they remember? When an image is linked to an emotion it makes the memory that much stronger.”

“The question is: how do we, as lighting designers, help create a successful project by creating emotions?” he asks. “At Focus Lighting, our planning process involves considerable analysis, identifying the emotions we want to create in the user.”

He believes that all members of the design team must articulate and agree upon what emotions the space will evoke and which moods will be created. “When the architect, interior designer, owner, and lighting designer all work together to create one feeling in the viewer, that’s the recipe for success,” Gregory explains.

Clearly, this is Paul’s theatrical background coming to the forefront.  Actively designing the intended emotional response of a space is something that modern architecture has completely neglected, in lieu of cold rationalism.  And one of the strengths that lighting design brings to project teams.