Tapping Into Lighting To Improve People’s Mood [Future of Light]

Tapping Into Lighting To Improve People’s Mood [Future of Light]

Designers are experimenting with how color and intensity of light can be deployed to reduce stress foster mental well-being.

  • 6 october 2013

When placed in unfamiliar and potentially stressful situations it can be difficult to maintain a positive outlook. This is further complicated in times of physical distress. Directing our attention outward can alleviate much of the the mental and emotional distress, and advances in lighting technology may help do just that. Hospitals in particular are leveraging the effects of improved lighting to aid their patients in recovery that benefits not just the body, but the mind as well.

Ed Crawford, CEO of Philips Lighting, says “Up until now, light has been something we need to see. And now light becomes something to make me feel a certain way.” In a trend we are calling Mood Lighting, PSFK Labs examines new products and environmental designs are using the calming properties of light to instill feelings of peace and tranquility. These innovations can be intentionally deployed to help improve health and well-being.


One example of this trend is The Nature Trail, an illuminated wall designed to soothe and engage kids on their way to the operating room. Created by Jason Bruges Studio, the Nature Trail covers a 50-meter stretch of corridor leading to the anesthesia room of London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital. Comprising a mix of LED panels and custom graphic integrated wallpaper, the interactive design is comprised of 72,000 lights that are embedded into the wall’s surface at various heights in order to be accessible to the eye levels of patients aged up to 16. Across those digital surfaces, animated patterns of light reveal the presence of animals that come to ‘life’ when sensors in the ceiling detect movement below, causing them to engage and interact playfully with passersby. The installation is designed to create a calming yet engaging route to surgery.


On the other side of the pond, a similar manifestation – also geared toward children – is being used to aid patient recovery. An expansion to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona uses LED lighting fixtures to create an immersive escape for patients and families as a distraction from the medical ailments surrounding them. Designed by Scott Oldner, the lighting scheme greets patients upon entering the building where they find themselves in a cheerful, colorful lobby uplit with rows of concealed, color-changing fixtures. In addition, Oldner simulated  a ‘water wall’ using light by lining the wall from floor to ceiling with textured, wave-patterned acrylic fixtures to uplight each section of the wall with varying shades of blue and aqua. To add more life to the water wall, Oldner used theatrical gobos in various shapes to project colored patterns on the walls. All interior and exterior LED lighting fixtures are controlled by a single Light System Manager from Philips Color Kinetics.


The Nature Trail and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital show how designers are thinking about light as an integral aspect of improving mood and well-being. We may see more examples like these focused in high stress areas like doctors’ offices and hospitals to offer calming lighting schemes, which can positively affect the health and well being of patients and staff.

These examples also fall under a larger trend we are calling Light for Life, which explores the transformative power of light and its ability to positively impact the lives of individuals and communities by promoting well-being and creating more opportunities for economies and activities to take place at all hours of the day.

The Future of Light series explores light’s potential to improve lives, build communities, and connect people in new and meaningful ways. Brought to you in partnership with Philips Lighting, a full report is available as an iOS and Android app or as a downloadable PDF.


Genetics Startup Is Working To Create A Completely Personalized, DNA-Based Range Of Products

Travel Yesterday

United Airlines Launches An Updated Business Class Program

The new Polaris product prioritizes customer service and updated modern amenities

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Video Explores Complex Museum Architecture

A mini video gives a quick overview of the most beautiful cultural buildings built


Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Sustainability Yesterday

Smog Vacuum Turns Pollution Particulates Into Unique Jewelry

A large device was installed in Beijing that sucks up smog and compresses it into small centerpieces atop jewelry

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

PSA Fashion Line Shines A Light On Victim Blaming

YWCA Canada is using fashion and sexist tweets to highlight how often we as a society blame the victim in cases of abuse

Related Expert

Jane McGonigal

Compter Games, Health & Fitness, Technology

Syndicated Yesterday

What PSX 2016 Tells Us About The Modern Games Industry

Nostalgia and big brands are defining how the console market is being shaped

Op-Ed Yesterday

VP: Why Messaging Apps Are Issuing In A New Era Of Commerce

Matt Johnson discusses how mobile messaging commerce is creating a different modality for interaction between retailers and consumers

Technology Yesterday

The PSFK Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Based on a year of research by PSFK Labs, we curated a list of innovative and unique holiday gifts


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Store Technology Expert: Why Retailers Must Invest In Store Associates

Jan Kotowski, Head of Product at Tulip Retail, shares his thoughts on how retailers should be preparing for the future

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Food Yesterday

Minute Maid Opens A Store That Sells Nothing

The beverage company opened a pop-up shop that encourages customers to write letters to their parents instead of buying a gift

Entertainment Yesterday

Samsung And Viceland Partner For A Virtual Reality Documentary On The Syrian War

The White Helmets film uses VR to immerse viewers in the everyday conditions of the war-torn country

Design & Architecture Yesterday

These Designs Bring Modern Architecture To The Humble Birdhouse

Artist Douglas Barnhard has imagined a series of designs emulating the work of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler

AI Yesterday

Nine Technologies To Invest In When It Comes To Retail [Future Of Retail]

Retailers are leveraging assistive technology to help employees in their daily tasks and customers on the sales floor

Travel Yesterday

Acura Cockpit Envisions The Future Of Autonomous Travel

The car brand has built a proof that offers a sneak peek of the self-driving vehicle experience


Conference Built Around Our Report Launch

Retail Yesterday

How Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Anytime Shopping & On-Demand Support

Retailers are leveraging advanced technology to relieve associates from mundane tasks, while better assisting customers

Cities Yesterday

NYC Map Calculates Economic Benefits Of Every Tree

TreesCount! maps all the greenery in the five boroughs and even figures out how much money it saves the city

Design Yesterday

Create A Perfectly Tailored Shirt Using Just Your Phone

UKYS has created an application to get accurate measurements of buyers through a few simple pictures for custom shirts

No search results found.