WYSIWYG was a well worn acronym in geek circles perhaps “what you see is what you get”   and involved the programming dilemma of being able to print stuff from a screen to a piece of paper… initially harder than it sounds … overcome nowadays so we dont even give it a thought.

When it comes to lighting and lighting design, the problems can arise… It seems so obvious what we are setting out to achieve, light in a dark space, switch it on and hey presto.

I was in a cafe the other day. A popular spot on the tourist trail, featuring local produce and well regarded on trip adviser. Closed just one day in the year (Christmas Day) so they take the opportunity to “do something about the lighting”.

Well… a few days after Chistmas I visit the place with a family member. EEEEKKKK! I was horrified.

So what had they done… What I saw was multitudes of horrid LED lightsources intruding into my field of vision from every corner of the room… They even had a carpark quality floodlight high up in the ceiling casting its cold and empty light downward bathing everybody in a sickly glow which really took away from the pleasures of eating berries and cream. Oh dear god, I thought, is this the best the management of this popular spot could come up with to enhance the customer experience. I am kicking myself.. I should have taken a photo of what not to do!

The most obvious mistake they had made was to think that they could solve their lighting problem with direct light. You cant.

When we go out into the sun, we instinctively shield our eyes. It is just the same with artificial lighting. We like to see illuminated surfaces, but we hate – I mean HATE – glare. The proprietors of this little cafe tucked away in the rural countryside had created a situation where their staff and guests where forced to look at intrusive light sources (mini-suns) without the courtesy of sunglasses. Woops!