How Lighting Evokes Emotion and Creates Atmospheres: A Focus on Moriyuki Ochiai Architects
Le Corbusier once stated that “Light creates ambiance and feel of a place, as well as the expression of a structure.” Despite other external technicalities and design choices made within public spaces, such as the way the space is constructed and the use of color and materiality, these elements would essentially be rendered useless without the proper use of lighting.
Many architects’ design choices and decisions cater toward the general illumination of a given environment, and the intended feeling and mood that architects want individuals of the public to experience whilst occupying the space. The lighting, therefore, must be integrated into the furnishings and architecture as lighting plays a decisive role in creating the right atmosphere. Low lighting creates an intimate, upscale atmosphere, especially within restaurants, bars, and lounge areas, where individuals are more apt to lean close together.
Moriyuki Ochiai Architects are active in architectural, interior, furniture, landscape, and industrial design by staying in alignment with the Japanese spirit of Monodzukuri, meaning ‘production’ or ‘the making of things’ as the core of their craftsmanship. In the following, we will outline their projects that showcase the ways in which lighting can be manipulated through the use of varying ceiling fixtures to evoke emotions and create an atmosphere.
Light as a Design Statement: Creative Ways to Use Artificial Lighting
Aluminum Flower Garden was born as a result of the firm’s challenge to create a concept that would evoke the floral imagery of the establishment’s eponymous name. In a country with limited resources, such as the likes of Japan, architects and designers alike are called to hone in on the spirit of Monodzukuri in the process. Taking inspiration from this cultural background, they used a single finite material, aluminum, as a simple planar surface from which an engaging three-dimensional space that fulfills various functions at once can be created.
A sheet of aluminum is spread across the ceiling, filling the space with its light and airy presence, with its creases as many as the glittering and fluttering petals covering the ceiling, unfolding visitors in a flowery embrace. One’s position and angle of a vision throughout the space, as well as the reflection of images and lights also perpetually redefine the appearance of the environment, thus enabling the viewer to experience further transient and diverse atmospheres.
In Light Cave, the architects carried out the interior design for a restaurant bar in a long, narrow cave-like setting where dynamic ridges and furrows form luminous vicissitudes that artfully create a space enfolded in a brilliant burst of light. Glimmering fragments of light adorn the area next to the entrance, akin to shards of ice or crystal, lending the space a serene atmosphere reminiscent of light on a cool winter day.
Like a living creature freely roaming around, luminous aluminum waves whirl through the air and intertwine with the red timber lattice at the boundary of the back area facing large windows, and what results is a space brimming with a feeling of lively motion. The characteristic creases of light at the front and the back of the cave resonate with the shards of light, luminous aluminum, and red timber lattice in their path, thereby bringing each microcosm into alignment and merging into a unique ensemble. The architects sought to create a universe in which one can wander into a cozy cave and enjoy a transforming scenery as our bodies become enfolded in a whirl of vibrant life.
In the case of Crystalscape, Moriyuki Ochiai Architects carried out the interior design for a beauty salon. They endeavored to create a space that would envelop the body in such radiance by making the entire ceiling into a luminous crystal symbolizing the radiance associated with beautiful, vibrant, and shiny hair brimming with vitality. The light reflecting off the metal waves and penetrating the white lattice produces intricate and constantly evolving expressions throughout the entire space that enables individuals to experience an ever-changing atmosphere as the layered structure is perceived differently depending on their relative position and line of sight at any given time.
Within the space, even minute shifts in natural light can be felt throughout the day and changing seasons, and by increasing the density of the structures in the central aisle, the ceiling height is lowered to break up the rhythm and create a cozy, inviting space where one is immersed in solitude as you pass under. The architects sought to honor the beauty of hair and replicate the spatial experience of profound depth through the repeated entwinement of layers of lattice and metal.
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