Project Zen – The Lighting Design

CDI World

In this final entry on our Zen garden inspired booth design, we describe how its digitally simulated photorealistic lighting can be translated into real life.

Any neuroscientist will tell you that our perception of light actually happens in the back of the brain, the visual cortex to be precise, and so good lighting designers use science as well as art to achieve the desired effect. For example, the color a surface appears, in neuro-optical terms, is dependent on the color of the light focused upon that surface. To paint a rainbow, in other words, it helps to have a neutral canvas.

Cardboard’s universal semi-reflective beigeness, makes it perfect for this purpose. And, for any lightsmith, the opportunity to paint such a large area with light (near 600 square feet), over such a long duration (we allowed for up to 12 hours), is a challenge to be relished.

In brainstorming Project Zen, the notion of devising an ultra-slow-moving cue-sequence, where the lighting shifts imperceptibly between daytime and nighttime color palettes, emerged early. Our logic being that the luminous novelty of an installation that subtly changes moment to moment would encourage visitors to return and catch different looks.

By employing an ample, overhead lighting grid with many luminaires routed through a computer-controlled console, we can present the lighting designer with the widest possible range of programmable options. Textural lighting elements will also play an important role: star fields twinkling upon the massive triangle mountains, or a projection of a moving waterfall on the large rock face.

Given the scale, it’s likely that hundreds of individual cues will be called for. From ‘purple dawn’ to ‘lavender magic hour’ and every intermediate look, each composition will require careful tuning to prompt a distinct response or mood in the mind of the visitor.

In concluding our last stroll through the current simulation of Project Zen, we invite readers to rest with these calming vistas for a spell, and not think, but imaginatively place themselves inside the fan-folded walls of our recyclable meditation garden, take a deep breath and –


Take a look at the previous posts as Project Zen took shape

The Beginning

The Rope Path

The Rocks

The Animals and Sittables

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