September 1, 2019

Lighting Goes Au Naturel in the Modern Workplace

Soft lighting creates a serene work environment. Photography courtesy of Casey Dunn Photography.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to workplace design. Whether companies curate offices that reflect their brand identities, or forego them completely for co-working spaces, designers are tasked with creating stimulating environments that appeal to the senses. Especially since mounting research points to the benefits of biophilic elements, such as a soft, dimmable lighting that emulates the daily cycle of the sun’s rays.   

Though lighting tends to be an afterthought when designing contemporary work spaces, it has the power to elevate employees’ well-being. A recent study from the University of Oregon found that access to daylight and views can improve mood, alertness, and productivity at work. As humans, we’re wired to respond to light, which makes it an impactful design tool.  

Shades offer the perfect complement to natural light, preserving views while reducing glare. Photography courtesy of James Steinkamp Photography.

Lutron Electronics, a leader in the lighting space that acquired Ketra last year, offers designers a range of automated lighting solutions. “It’s about creating a meaningful experience for a company’s most important asset: its people,” says Brent Protzman, director of building science and standards at Lutron Electronics. “Lighting is one of the most critical components of good design—it brings life to our environments and the people who enjoy them.” 

Adaptable lighting, like Ketra, which fluctuates in intensity and color to mimic the patterns of daylight, enables designers to recreate the experience of natural light in areas beyond a window’s reach. But built environments with ample access to daylight pose design challenges, too, like glare. Transparent shades, such as Lutron Electronics’ line of shading solutions, help offset the sometimes blinding nature of the sun’s reflection. “Our THEIA fabrics offer visual consistency in openness factor to preserve views to the outdoors, while maintaining the design aesthetic,” says Protzman.    

Lutron’s lighting solutions adapt to the ebb and flow of natural light. Photography courtesy of Casey Dunn Photography.

Lighting is a necessity in traditional and fluid workspaces. According to the 2018 Americas Occupier Survey, the number of small companies (with 50 employees or less) that consider using co-working spaces is expected to grow to 85% by 2021. In all offices, the need for flexibility is key and choosing a versatile lighting system, with digital and wireless capabilities, is one way to ensure its relevance for years to come. 

The freedom to change lighting zones and schemes as a space evolves offers a vital design edge. With a broad portfolio of solutions to deliver a holistic lighting environment, Lutron Electronics outfits designers with the tools to integrate lighting solutions with a variety of partners, bringing a bit of the outdoors into any space. 

To learn more about designing for human-centric spaces, visit

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