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Shaping and Designing Humans Through Light: A Conversation with Daniela Viloria

As part of the conference program for the XXV Lighting Seminar organized by IES Mexico - Voices of Light - which will be held on May 3rd-4th, 2023 in Mexico City, we are proud to present the lecture sponsored by Lamp: Shaping and Designing Humans through Light, to be delivered by Daniela Viloria.

Daniela Viloria

Daniela Viloria: Moving towards a holistic lighting design concept

Daniela Viloria is a Venezuelan architect and lighting designer, who settled in Spain 15 years ago. She currently runs her own business: Dany Viloria Design Consulting, which she combines with her role as a teacher, which she has been undertaking since 2019 in various universities and on company training programs.

The added value proposal, and the hallmark of Daniela's work as a lighting designer, are based on the concept of lighting as an integrated element in constructive solutions, which should be rooted in the following architectural concept: "that the building itself may become a luminaire".

The combination of her work as a designer and her role as a teacher has led her to reflect on the impact of lighting, both on our visual perception and also on the long-term effects it has on human biological systems. This reflection has prompted her to incorporate a holistic vision of lighting into her projects.

The short and long term effects of lighting.


The impact that lighting has on human beings must be taken into account in terms of two time spans. According to Daniela, we find:

-Short-term effects: These involve understanding perception processes and the influence they have on the immediate reactions of users who live and interact in an area illuminated in a particular way. In Daniela's opinion, "a lighting designer must approach the design consciously, and always based on the knowledge of these perception processes".

-Long-term effects: In recent years, the influence of light as a regulator of circadian cycles and the impact it has at a physiological level has been scientifically demonstrated.

Key aspects to implementing projects focused on creating well-being


Nowadays we have many studies and reports that scientifically demonstrate the influence that environmental comfort has on our bodies. One of these environmental parameters that does indeed have a great influence is lighting.

Following the discovery in 2002 of the photoreceptor ipRGCs (known as intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells), which are involved in non-visual processes, and the subsequent discovery of the molecular mechanisms that regulate what we know as circadian rhythms (those that determine physical, mental and behavioral changes in a 24-hour cycle, and which respond fundamentally to light and dark cycles), the entire lighting industry ecosystem (designers and luminaire and/or technology manufacturers, etc.) has reached a significant milestone in terms of the potential of good lighting to improve user experience and well-being.

However, in Daniela's words: "the wealth of information gathered from this research needs to be organized and disseminated so that effective strategies can be implemented in the project: the design should not be a question of inspiration, but, rather, should come from a reflection stemming from the research".

Other key aspects for project development, in line with this paradigm shift, include:

- Including multidisciplinary working groups: "The lighting design should not be isolated from acoustic management, nor from temperature or ventilation control," she explains.

- A greater demand for social responsibility on the part of administrations and private corporations to ensure adequate environmental conditions that can guarantee healthy user environments.

3 tips from Daniela on how to approach this new design concept:


- A commitment to ongoing vocational training: collecting data and organizing it in such a way that it can be put into practice in the project;

- Putting the client at the heart of the project: understanding each person's relationship with the areas we design, based on empathy. Understanding design as a service, not as a channel for personal expression: "the project is not a channel to express our own creativity as designers; it should be understood as a service, and in this way we will create more committed design programs";

- Promoting corporate responsibility on a personal and professional level, enhancing our commitments to the planet and humanity in general

Conference: Shaping and Designing Humans Through Light


"The things we design can end up re-designing us” Jason Silva

"Are we aware of how much anything we design can end up re-designing us? Just as the design of a chair influences the time spent in it, and the attention span and postural health of the person sitting on it; the conscious or unconscious management of lighting parameters ends up increasing or limiting the human perception of "reality". This interpretation has a direct impact on our physical and psychological functioning and performance, and, as a result, on the decisions we make at any given time.
Ontological Design is a philosophical current that can help to redefine the best practices of a lighting designer.

In times dominated by a plethora of theories about good practice as well as countless scientific discoveries about our relationship with light, a return to philosophy seems to be a way of reconciling this cacophony of information, thus giving a deep, transcendental meaning to the work of the lighting designer.

Based on the precepts of Ontological Design, this talk aims to trigger a thought-provoking reflection on some not-so-obvious consequences of the lighting expert's everyday decisions, in an effort to reconsider the purpose of our knowledge and actions".

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