Just when you thought it might be safe to go out at night, it turns out that weÃ¯Â¿Â½ve all been seeing it wrong. How do I know this? Because of the work done by a bunch of Euro-boffins under the banner of the Mesopic Optimisation of Visual Efficiency project, or MOVE Ã¯Â¿Â½ for the sake of sanity. Checking the wacky world of the web, it seems that this study was wrapped back in 2004, but the stake in the heart obviously didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t take because its findings have been discussed recently in one of our learned lighting journals (thatÃ¯Â¿Â½ll be Lighting Journal, then.) And what were they looking for, these MOVE chappies: The lack of mesopic scales results in inappropriate lighting, energy wastage and decreased traffic safety. The objective is to define scales for the mesopic range (0.001-3 cd/m2) and to establish appropriate working practices that are accepted throughout the European Community. Oh dear.
Let me give you a firmer footing on this one, just soÃ¯Â¿Â½s you stay with me. Back at the end of the Ã¯Â¿Â½60s, Phil Spector released his entire oeuvre in a 4-disc compilation called Ã¯Â¿Â½Back to MonoÃ¯Â¿Â½. As well as it being a great ego-boost for the old convicted-murderer-to-be it was a protest against the growing aural complexity that led to bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer, of whom Ã¯Â¿Â½ Ã¯Â¿Â½nuff said. Keep that simple phrase between your ears for the next few minutes; Ã¯Â¿Â½Back to MonoÃ¯Â¿Â½.
Back to the plot: the dust of the MOVE project has been mixed with the blood of an innocent lighting designer and now stalks that hinterland betwixt day and night: The Mesopic. Where weÃ¯Â¿Â½ve all been going wrong is in assuming that we only have one pair of eyes. How foolish of us. As any fule kno, our eyes are shifty critters who gad about without so much as a by-your-leave. During the day they prefer the yellowy garb of Photopic society - but like the flippertygibbets they are, itÃ¯Â¿Â½ll be the blues of those Scotopic rascals once the sun has set.
The MOVE coves came up with the idea that weÃ¯Â¿Â½ve been getting our night-time lighting wrong because weÃ¯Â¿Â½ve always based it on the characteristics of our daytime vision. But because street lighting levels are all around the Mesopic range, thatÃ¯Â¿Â½s where we should be looking for coloration Ã¯Â¿Â½ and that, my friends, is GREEN. Yes, it deserves repetition: GREEN! And if weÃ¯Â¿Â½re not careful, thatÃ¯Â¿Â½ll be the colour of the future nightscape, and my skin crawls even as I type it.
And why is this even an option? Because that tricky LED technology has been talking itself up again. Why shouldnÃ¯Â¿Â½t we shift colours if we want to Ã¯Â¿Â½ if we need to? Presumably, in some future Dorchester, IÃ¯Â¿Â½ll be able to walk down South Street and shout. Ã¯Â¿Â½Oi! Streetlight! A bit more green, if you please. I feel the Mesopic coming on.Ã¯Â¿Â½
But hereÃ¯Â¿Â½s another idea; Stop it. Leave it alone. DonÃ¯Â¿Â½t go there. Back to Mono, where light is light and dark is dark and the Mesopic is just a place of shadows.
A (very) basic guide to ethical specification
Lighting design: it's a client thing
Calculating obtrusive light: whose job is it?
When there's nothing in the catalogue
When is a chandelier not a pendant? When its a lantern!
When clients learn too much . . .
One of our details is missing
Where will light fittings come from?
The end of the light bulb?
Always something new . . . again
Always something new . . .
Combining old and new
On being in the dark . . .
Riffing The Internet of Things
John Bullock writes a regular column for lighting magazines. You can find all of the archived pieces here.
BLOGS - LIGHTING DESIGN
John Bullock writes about all things and anything concerning architectural lighting design; new technologies and old lamps; anything,really.
HOME LIGHTING CONSULTANT
John Bullock designs innovative lighting designs for people's homes. By working closely with clients he is able to deliver solutions that meet - and exceed - their expectations.
BLOGS - CPD RIBA CORE PROGRAMME 2015
John Bullock will be presenting a seminar on latest lighting design and technologies as part of the RIBA CPD Core programme 2015
BLOGS - SUSTAINABILITY
John Bullock believes that the UK lighting industry needs to embrace a sustainable way of delivering good quality product through good design, fabrication and end-of-life management.
BLOGS - LIGHTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lighting has a vital role to play in our health and wellbeing.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room