Light and space are becoming sought-after commodities. As the demand for offices rises, factors such as windows and natural ventilation are in danger of becoming an afterthought. The inner workings of a well-designed office most certainly affect our productivity levels and overall happiness, though artificial light still has its place. It seems like a simple task, but how can we make sure that all employees are able to experience the benefits of natural daylight?
Leslie Nooteboom is a London-based designer who is currently tackling the issue of natural light deficiency within the home and the workplace, as seen through his latest project, Komorebi – a lamp projector that meticulously replicates the effects of the sun.
The project emerged from his graduate collection from the Innovation Design Engineering course at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London; it’s an easy and programmable device that would ideally suit a basement space or attic studio – or any sun-lacking room, for that matter.
“The reason for developing Komorebi was to generate happiness in people’s homes,” says Nooteboom. “I interviewed people in bad quality housing, did experiments with people in cardboard boxes and found out that people really appreciated natural experiences – from a setting sun to the sound of rain on the window.”
“Komorebi aims to bring a more natural experience of light into a room, so that even if you live in a place with little sunlight or no windows, you can still enjoy the beauty of sunlight shadows.”
Nooteboom’s main inspiration for Komorebi was sparked after visiting social housing in London, where his findings were that natural experiences – most dramatically sunlight falling through the windows of a room – had an impact on the interiors of these houses and on the residents’ wellness within.
Although the idea stems from domestic purposes, Komorebi – which takes its name from the Japanese for “sun dappling through the leaves” – is well placed to have significant use within the modern workplace. “There are so many working environment cubicles where blandness has a negative effect on the energy levels of employees. By giving subtle changes in the visual experience of that space, you get tired less quickly and there’s a positive effect on the mood of the people working there,” says Nooteboom.
According to the designer, people spend more than 90% of their lives indoors in often statically lit environments. With Noteboom’s plans to commercialise and develop the project on a larger scale, the Komorebi couldn’t be more suitable for the current interest in wellbeing: “With more natural light experiences, people have better circadian rhythms and increased alertness – these are some of the impacts the Komorebi aims to influence.”
The Komorebi lamp replicates the dynamic effect of sunshine in dull, dark rooms, making residents and office workers feel better