Student Work

  • Lighting Design (MFA)

    Paola Bernal Arguelles

    Spatial perception of texture and associated emotions

    It is well-known how deeply light influences our physiological and psychological well-being. As designers, we should push the boundaries beyond the immediate visual perception process. This thesis began by challenging our current approach to lighting design, with the goal of designing for quantity and visual performance. Instead, this thesis proposes an alternative process, driven by human perception and the desired emotional response to space. This thesis argues in favor of considering material and light as one unit, since material visual elements (shadow, highlight, roughness, glossiness) are only factors as they are rendered in light. I refer to this relationship as "materialux," a new term to describe the careful tuning of light-rendering material qualities, to create different results in perception. Materialux, when placed in space, determines the emotional content of the environment (mood). My own experience has shown that the most perceptually impactful materialux is perceived in the presence of texture. This thesis is about how material texture in the presence of light has the power to modify our spatial and material perception of space as well as the overall mood or emotion it provoked in us. This project will be published in a compendium book by the SCE.