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Home » Rogier van der Heide: Why Light Needs Darkness (Transcript)

Rogier van der Heide: Why Light Needs Darkness (Transcript)

Rogier van der Heide at TED Talks

In this TED Talk, lighting architect Rogier van der Heide shows a beautiful new way to look at the world — by paying attention to light (and to darkness).


There’s a beautiful statement on the screen that says:

“Light creates ambiance, light makes the feel of a space, and light is also the expression of structure.”

Well, that was not by me. That was, of course, by Le Corbusier, the famous architect. And here you can see what he meant in one of his beautiful buildings — the chapel Notre Dame Du Haut De Ronchamp — where he creates this light that he could only make because there’s also dark.

And I think that is the quintessence of this 18-minute talk — that there is no good lighting that is healthy and for our well-being without proper darkness.

So this is how we normally would light our offices. We have codes and standards that tell us that the lights should be so much Lux and of great uniformity. This is how we create uniform lighting from one wall to the other in a regular grid of lamps. And that is quite different from what I just showed you from Le Corbusier.

If we would apply these codes and standards to the Pantheon in Rome, it would never have looked like this, because this beautiful light feature that goes around there all by itself can only appear because there is also darkness in that same building.

And the same is more or less what Santiago Calatrava said when he said:

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