Direct light vs indirect light: which type of light is suitable for what?


The concept of lighting planning is aimed at individual lighting systems that are based on the most demanding task in the room: equipping the room with the appropriate light quality. The focus is on which lighting best supports the conditions in the room. We explain the difference between the different types of light, why direct light is highly energy efficient and indirect light is easy on the eye.

When do we use direct light?


As the name suggests, direct lighting is about a direct incidence of light. The light is bundled, usually from the ceiling, in a small beam angle of 10 ° to 60 ° and directly guided into the room. Direct light is always used when details need to be brought into focus: it has a narrow beam angle, creates an exciting contrast of light and shadow and is therefore mostly used for accent lighting. A desk lamp, for example, is used to provide the work surface with sufficient light. Good illumination of the kitchen workplace is achieved by directional spotlights or under-floor lights (link to AREA). Also at trade fairs, in museums, art galleries and in retail stores, light planners often rely on directional light in the form of LED spotlights or LED downlights that put individual objects in the foreground. For optimal working conditions in offices, the lighting must be adapted to the circumstances of the environment. Annoying shadows over the work surfaces should be avoided; Glare control is also important for flat angles. Since the ceiling usually appears dark, a so-called cave effect is created in the room. This creates high energy efficiency for the working level.

What is indirect light suitable for?


Here, too, the term allows for first interpretations: We speak of indirect lighting when light is reflected from the walls or ceiling in such a way that the surface is indirectly filled with brightness. Indirect light is responsible for general lighting and is usually used to illuminate a larger area. The larger beam angle ensures that the light is emitted evenly in different directions. Do you already know the concept? Sunlight shining through a window over a large area is also an indirect source of light.

By deliberately avoiding shadows, we achieve a diffuse lighting effect. This means that a particularly “soft” light is created, which illuminates the surroundings evenly and thereby allows the eye to calm down. In work environments such as offices, schools, warehouses or hospitals, indirect light ensures that the focus and concentration level are maintained throughout the day. Discreet LED wall or ceiling lights as well as LED strips are suitable for this, which in different colors can provide an individual light accent in the room. Another advantage of indirect lighting is that the room gains height and openness thanks to the low-contrast light, which means that the interior design can develop better. Since indirect light generally does not dazzle, pieces of furniture and workplaces can be placed anywhere and changed again and again. A disadvantage of indirect lighting is energy efficiency, which is much lower than direct lighting.

In contrast to direct light sources, indirect light offers the possibility of avoiding the sharp contrasts of light and shadow of a directed light.

When is indirect/direct lighting used?


The mixed form, which connects the two types of light, is one of the most frequently used lighting concepts in offices and workplaces. The light is directed here via suspended ceiling lights (link to KALA) or floor lamps (link to ORON) both directly and indirectly via the ceiling onto the surface. This creates an optimal contrast ratio and a pleasant spatial impression that neither appears uncomfortably bright nor too dark. With at least 60 percent indirect lighting, the components can be arranged individually in the room; that is, work surfaces can be placed anywhere. The combination of both types of light ensures a good compromise between energy efficiency and light quality.

And what do we mean by mild lighting?


Direct, indirect, direct/indirect: And what does mild light mean? Quite simply: Mild light brings together the advantages of direct/indirect lighting and combines them in a flat lamp mounted on the ceiling ( The glare-free lighting is gentle on the eye and creates a daylight-like impression of the room. Furniture and workplaces can also be arranged individually here. This creates a flexible and elegant lighting solution that brings energy efficiency and lighting quality together in the best possible way.

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