Firms are looking at artistic, eco-friendly ways to use lighting Since we have been able to flip a switch by the door to illuminate a room, as opposed to making a fire or filling a lamp with oil, we have for the most part taken for granted the fact that we can see things after the sun goes down. Only people who use light for artistic purposes look at the subject with any special concern but that is beginning to change. Perhaps we should blame it on the lava lamps of the 1960s. No matter how comical they may seem to many of us today, they can be viewed as one of the first attempts to use light to set a mood in the home that did not depend on messy candles. Homeowners are now far more concerned with the atmosphere light creates and the environmental effects of the technology. Philips Lighting Hong Kong general manager Ravi Rajagopalan said his company had been studying home lighting and the attitude people had to it for many years. The company recently launched a new lighting solution called LivingColors based on company research and he said it was the first of its kind. 'Atmosphere in the home is important to people and studies showed that people consider lighting to be the most important element in creating it. Philips also undertook research that affirmed how colours affect people and these formed the starting point of the concept.' The lamp has four light-emitting diodes (LEDs) - two red, one blue and one green. Each is controlled by the remote and there are 16 million colour combinations that can be brightened, or dimmed. 'LivingColors is technologically advanced, based on LED technology which is more energy efficient and lasts longer than traditional light sources.' Philips said one remote can control up to six lamps but the best results would be to limit each controller to two. That way each pair can be customised to create a special mood. Erco, a German company that specialises in elaborate lighting schemes for business and the home, asks famous designers to help with some of the firm's projects. Naoto Fukasawa was hired to work with the firm on its Cantax lighting solution. Fukasawa believes there is still more to be done with light and architecture. 'Architecture, with its right angles, calls for rectangular light sources. Consequently, we have given Cantax the basic shape of a pure, flat cuboid to represent this connection. All we have done is add simple, universal hinge joints and then combine these elements carefully to produce a fully coherent, uncompromising shape, yet one which integrates harmoniously with its environment,' he said. Fukasawa does not rule out the possibility that we may be able to do things with light that are unheard of today. 'It may be possible one day to control the shape of light fully like a data projection. Light will become digitalised information. Light will provide intelligent functions. The use of light will develop into a software technology,' Fukasawa said.