The boundaries between light and color in architecture: the different lighting solution


  • Paola Bertoletti Dipartimento di Design, Politecnico di Milano



light, color, perception, lighting strategies, architectural lighting


Light and color are innate characteristics in architecture. Hardly an environment, a building, or a monument can be devoided of light and color. The reason is simple. Even if humans holistically perceive what surrounds them, sight is generally the first sense activated in the discrimination of the environment.

Lighting technology and colorimetry are inextricably connected. The visible spectrum and our sensibility to different radiations, allow us to perceive colors and experience space. This assumption also implies that its indeed possible to achieve significant changes in a space, with the sole use of light and color.

The relationship between light and color is well known from a photometric and colorimetric point of view; however, the relationship between these two actors has different meanings in the symbolic and interpretative sphere. This article aims to explore these aspects. The color is not an intrinsic physical property of the objects; the lighting designer must be aware that changing the technology or the propriety of light sources directly affects the chromatic aspect of an object and as such perceptions of architecture and symbolism of its color.

This article wants to demonstrate that seeing architecture, means interpreting a context through its colors and shapes.


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How to Cite

“The boundaries between light and color in architecture: the different lighting solution ” (2023) Cultura e Scienza del Colore - Color Culture and Science, 15(02), pp. 15–21. doi:10.23738/CCSJ.150202.