Journal of Biophilic Design podcast

The Fluid Beauty of Light - Lighting the Workplace

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We are diurnal species, we were born under natural light, we have an ingrained ability to imagine and contextualise natural light in our heads. A Biophilic approach to lighting pulls on those cues inwards into the built environment. We spend hours and hours inside, and in the workplace we need spaces that will empower us to do our best work, to flourish, to keep us healthy and as a simple baseline, to also enjoy coming to work. Gary Thornton is speaking at the Workplace Trends “Evolving Ways of Working” conference on 18 October 2022 in London and we catch up with him beforehand to discuss just how should we be applying Biophilic lighting to our Workplaces.

A lot of things in the workplace are static, but what can shift during the day is lighting. It can influence our behaviour, the look and feel of a space, more so than any other discipline. That is one reason why lighting is so important, but is also one of the unsung heroes of a space. Historically, we have lit spaces for paper-based work, instead of considering a great deal of our work is screen-based, so there is a lot of overlighting. In this podcast, Gary outlines a lighting schema that considers first how people use the space, how to enhance not only the horizontal space (desks etc) but also the verticals (the walls which can look drab and dull if not lit properly). He suggests lighting spaces which create an experience, a destination to enhance the wellbeing and also positive perception and feeling of a space.

We chat about Circadian rhythms, and how important bringing in an automated shift in brightness and colour temperature during the day is, so for instance it’s slightly warmer in the morning when you get to work, but it gets slightly cooler and punchier at lunchtime and then warmer and dimmer before you go home, it’s imperceptible but will support your eyes and body biologically, taking cues from nature does, to enable fit, healthy, productive and creative staff.

There are many reasons why we should be considering a better lit environment in the workplace, it draws in tenants and keeps companies there, so there’s longevity, but also staff retention, it supports everybody along the whole workplace chain.

To find out more about lighting design and the impact Biophilic lighting can have on us, join him at Workplace Trends on the 18th October at Workplace Trends (in person and online), book here:

Gary wrote an excellent article in our NEW Journal of Magazine now available on Kindle and as a Hardback and Paperback book:

To connect with Gary at Nulty, visit

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Credits: with thanks to George Harvey Audio Production for the calming biophilic soundscape that backs all our podcasts.

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