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Illuminating the Future: 2024 Lighting Trends

For Martin Döller, founder of One to One Studio, light is an experience. When you look beyond a lamp, or fitting and dive into the experiential world of lighting, you’ll find a powerful tool that changes how you live, sleep, and connect.
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As an expert with 15 years of multidisciplinary experience, Döller has implemented experiential lighting for renowned restaurants including La Petite Colombe, La Colombe, and Delaire Graaff in Cape Town, and many award-winning residential and commercial projects across the country. Here is Döller’s perspective on lighting trends for 2024

Experiential Lighting
Fixating on light as a product and only a functional tool is a thing of the past, the future is rooted in the experience of light. Doller explains, “Experientially from nature, we can all relate to how light makes us feel – from sunset to sunrise and campfires. But, traditional lighting design has placed too much emphasis on light as purely task – all downlight everywhere”

Combining and layering different types of lighting according to the space’s design and utility lends itself to an emotive experience of light; task lighting, indirect ambient glow, and theatrical drama will be played with more for a refreshing experience.

A return to nature
Sustainable lighting solutions that are inspired by nature are the future.“Organic materials such as wood, woven fibers, and stone and glass dominate designs. Biophilic elements, such as fixtures inspired by nature, will bring the outdoors inside, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces,” says Martin. Homes are becoming places of recovery and well-being, with lighting playing a significant role in such.

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Less is more
Martin highlights that “Since load shedding South Africans have realised that we need less light, and live in less light which can actually make us feel better. As a designer, I pride myself on disguising, concealing, and disintegrating the light source. I craft solutions to create contrasting shadows – no even lighting, separating the important from the unimportant like artworks vs. coffee tables. It’s a principle that more people will begin to apply.”

Much like candlelight, and the limited light sources we have had to adapt to, lighting design in 2024 will lean into restraint. There will be a rise in concealed light sources, and flexible, versatile, dynamic light sources. Overall opting to create a warm glow that enhances spaces.

True sustainability
Sustainability in lighting is moving to become all-encompassing, from energy-efficient LED technology, and recyclable materials, to eco-friendly manufacturing processes. However, timeless design is paramount to reducing waste and encouraging a circular economy. Embracing new technology like rechargeable lamps, solar power, and flexible, versatile dynamic lights will become the norm. From a design perspective, “our studio’s biophilic approach ensures that lighting not only benefits humans but also harmonizes with the natural world, promoting a sustainable balance between technology and nature.”

Optimising for wellness
Homes being the sanctuary of wellness in 2024 will see the shift to leveraging residential lighting to optimise holistic wellness. Döller explains how, “Aligning lighting with circadian rhythms enhances sleep quality, and promotes emotional well-being so homes will become retreats that nurture overall health.”

Adaptive and sensorial lighting are pivotal to the execution of creating an optimal environment. These intelligent lighting systems respond intuitively, making them perfectly suited for South African homes. “The integration of biophilic principles, adaptive lighting, and artistic design will pave the way for a future where lighting not only illuminates spaces but also enriches lives, fostering a profound sense of well-being and connection to the natural world,” concludes Doller.

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