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Light for Innovations - Learnings from Leonardo

Henri Juslén, Chief future illuminator, Helvar

The Renaissance humanism approach did not separate sciences and the arts. Leonardo da Vinci, whose birthday is today (15.4), might provide the best knownexample of this. His studies in science and engineering are as creative and innovative as his paintings. Leonardo was studying light and shadow quite a lot, as can be seen from his art and notes. If Leonardo lived today, maybe he would be focusing on lighting? There are few areas which combine science, nature, art, design, human wellbeing, architecture and engineering the way light and lighting does.

 

Renaissance multidisciplinary way of thinking could still be beneficial. Too often multiple professionals in the lighting world tend to stay in their own boxes. Even more sad is, if these professionals deliberately try to keep other people in their own less valuable boxes. Even Leonardo used quite a lot of effort, according to his notes, to reason why painting is the highest art and on top of all others. It is also unlikely that Leonardo was thinking how lighting makes us able to see, when he classified people: “There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” However, maybe these notes also explain reasons for Leonardo da Vinci´s creativity. He was asking and hearing questions and using a lot of energy to find answers. The ability to ask questions does not necessarily increase with all the great education we receive.

 

In a few days we will be celebrating United Nations World Creativity and Innovation Day (#WCID). It is positioned to encourage creative multidisciplinary thinking to help us achieve the sustainable future. Lighting has an interesting double role in this process. Innovative lighting solutions help to save energy and create a sustainable world. However, even more importantly, lighting can improve our ability to innovate and create. The right light at the right time at the right place can influence our ability to handle tasks, our mood and our sleeping quality. When we have the right mindset and brains, which have had enough recovery during sleep, we can innovate sustainable futures for all areas of life. 

 

The learning from Leonardo can be that we should break our boxes, ask questions, prototype ideas and encourage others to do the same, all in good light. This will lead to faster learning and increased creativeness. Let light show as an example with the first step; catch daylight to box, carry it to dark room, open the box and check if light has stayed there

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