Colour

Whilst the colour of daylight will vary from morning to evening, and with changes in the sky and weather patterns; it is always regarded as the reference by which colour is judged... daylight is regarded as 'real colour.'

In early stores, such as Harrods, voids were opened in the roof to admit daylight to sales areas below; whereas for some years this was ignored. There were several reasons for this, not least being that it was considered that means of artificial light were more suitable for display, to show off the goods 'in a better light.'

This tended to ignore the environmental advantages of daylight and natural colour, and this has since been recognized in many new large shopping areas, where the entry of daylight is encouraged for the provision of environmental light to the store, but where for display purposes artificial light may be introduced locally to enhance the product.

The old concept of 'taking something to the light', by which was meant daylight, may be less of a necessity if the environmental light gives natural colour; whilst from the point of view of the shop worker who must remain in the same environment all day the advantage of natural light is obvious.

Staircase at Berkeley, USA. Shadow pattern conflict

Sunlight and shadow

The same applies to office buildings, where people tend to have to stay in the same atmosphere all day; if workers are too far from a window and the impression of natural light is greatly reduced, there is a sense of dissatisfaction. This is recognized by management, ensuring that for a part of the working day, for example during coffee breaks or in the office dining room, there is access to daylight, a change of environment.

It is generally recognized that vision is enhanced by good contrast, and that the natural colour of daylight increases contrast; it is argued that this permits lower illumination levels, whilst increasing visibility1.

1The Design of Lighting. Peter Tregenza and David Loe

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