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How to utilize natural light indoors?

    For most people, modern living means spending the majority of the day in indoor spaces.

    In fact, according to an EPA report, the average person spends about 90 percent of their lifetime indoors. This means we're missing out on many of the health benefits of sunlight, such as vitamin D absorption, regulation of circadian rhythms, stimulation of energetic states, and improved mood and emotions. With this in mind, increasing the amount of time we spend outdoors is an option. However, since most daily functions take place inside buildings, it becomes crucial to incorporate and prioritize natural lighting in indoor spaces.

 


 

    Of course, too much direct sunlight can have negative effects - such as visual discomfort and unwanted heat absorption and warming - which is why the emphasis is on properly controlling the entry of natural light.

    Some of the traditional solutions are: installing shading devices; and treating the windows with additional treatments, such as the use of film or heat-reflective glass.

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    Beyond this, however, there are many other innovative strategies that can effectively control natural light while accentuating the character of a modern space and enhancing its aesthetic and emotional value.

 


 

Dramatic focal points
    Skylights are one way to utilize natural light as a design element that immediately draws attention. Inspired by famous openings such as the Pantheon, skylights have a strong symbolic meaning and are useful when large spaces cannot be adequately illuminated through windows, creating a dramatic focal point effect or bringing in pleasant filtered light. However, there are some key points to bear in mind before adding a skylight.

    Among other things, it is crucial to consider the size and purpose of the room; for example, a space used for everyday activities such as reading or eating can make good use of the direct natural light gained from a skylight, but a more intimate space such as a bedroom may not need focal light (although such spaces can have smaller skylights for diffused light). Another key factor is orientation: a west-facing skylight will get intense afternoon sunlight, while an east-facing skylight will get more light in the morning. Similarly, a north-facing skylight will provide consistent light throughout the day, while a south-facing skylight will result in weaker and cooler daylight transmission.

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    After determining the best location, there are many more possibilities to explore. Often round, square, or other organic shapes, the presence of a skylight can be a striking design statement in any room, adding to the overall aesthetic while framing the entry of light and views of the sky. However, skylights must be airtight and use glass with good thermal properties to avoid overheating and prevent water infiltration to ensure practicality.

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Set shapes and patterns
    Whether it's an openwork wall, a grille, or a variety of openings in the ceiling, rhythmic light entrances can effectively filter sunlight, thus providing a comfortable thermal environment and natural ventilation. However, to achieve the right balance between function, comfort and aesthetics, a number of factors must first be considered.

 

Warm, Diffused Effects
    Sometimes a design needs to diminish the intensity of daylight to create a cozy, warm atmosphere, in which case filtering the light evenly using the entire surface is an ideal solution - especially in buildings that don't specifically require a transparent view. Filtering surfaces can be realized in a wide range of materials, from opalescent glass panels to a variety of fabrics. However, before choosing a material, the orientation and use of the building, the configuration of the interior spaces and the desired style must be studied in detail.

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