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The Design Value of Natural Light

Sunlight has kept making an appearance in my life over the past two months. So, I took the hint. the solar eclipse approaches, it only seems appropriate to consider the role of sunlight in our spaces (and lives). A few weeks ago I noticed that a succulent in my dining area would reach for the sun no matter how I positioned it. What is interesting about this is the fact that my dining area is in a sun room that is infiltrated with light. Even then, however, that little plant kept striving for direct sunlight. It had water, it had light but it yearned for the feel of the sun. That, of course, made me think about people and how we know that sunlight positively impacts us yet we have become an indoor culture - our offices and homes keep us out of the sun far too often. Consider the impact that this must have on our well being.

Soon after, I was working in an office devoid of any natural sunlight for the majority of folks. While the outer offices had sunlight, the inner ring did not, making it feel like a constant state of 5 pm (except no one was going home) all day, every day. At first I had not noticed it, but throughout the week I started to feel like something was missing from my life. It was the sun. I left deeply exhausted every single day, and noticeably less energized and motivated. I was happy to leave, but felt a little sad for those who would continue existing daily in that space.

When designing your offices, businesses, and homes, don't forget how natural light impacts not only the space but also your productivity. I read an interesting statistic recently that stated that when tasks are performed in sunlight, people are generally more productive. Although the base behind this runs more deeply into sleep patterns, etc, the nature of the message remains the same. We need sunlight to be our best selves ( read here ). As my succulent so proudly communicated, it needed the sun to perform and grow!

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