Light + Design:

Spaces to stimulate the brain

Spaces to stimulate the brain


By incorporating natural elements into architecture or building upon the knowledge of the human mind, designers can shape our perception of space, argue Noah Yaffe, a partner with Steven Holl Architects, and Raymond van Ee, a principal researcher at Philips, in their Luminous Talks presentations.

Luminous talks are a way of bringing ideas relating to lighting to an invited audience and also disseminating them to a wider audience.


Noah Yaffe of Stephen Holl Architects explained how the countless viewpoints of being in a space, and of one’s body being in the space, could help to shape one’s understanding and perception.


The practice’s Daeyang Gallery and House in Seoul, South Korea reflects the idea that unexpected phenomena can emerge when natural elements are integrated into architecture and the building is integrated in the landscape.


The Horizontal Skyscraper in Shenzhen, China, influences one’s perception of being in a public space through the effective use of colour and highly reflective materials.

The Knut Hamsun Centre, set above the Arctic Circle in Norway, responds to the area’s extreme light patterns and demonstrates how these can create a unique spatial experience.


The new Glasgow School of Art building brings daylight in through large tubes cutting through the building, as well as a sky exposure plane.

Raymond van Ee, an expert on how the brain processes sensory signals, focused on our propensity for selective perception and the peculiarities of the body clock.Our brains have built-in interpretations of some objects, and it is difficult to see the real image or perceive depth if what we see does not conform to our expectations. These ideas can be illustrated with optical illusions. 


Focus can be increased through synchronization of different stimuli, such as audio and visuals. They can reinforce our concentration on certain elements in the space through the use of multisensory models.


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