Philosophy CLIG 7. July 2023
We are perception planners

We are an independent engineering office for lighting design with a main focus on light perception.

Conceptlicht was founded in 1990 by Helmut Angerer. In the meantime, projects are not only managed in Germany, Italy and Austria from our office in Traunreut, but worldwide.

The phenomenon of visual perception is an essential criterion for us in the design process, alongside architectural and design aspects.

What does perception mean?

Visual perception is the reception and evaluation of environmental information with the help of the eyes. The physical stimulus is the [...] light entering the eye, from which the dioptric apparatus [...] produces a retinal image. [...] (Source: Dorsch - Lexikon der Psychologie)

Sensory perception as well as its aesthetic interpretation and evaluation (on an intuitive-emotional as well as on a rational level) are [...] fundamentally linked to our overall psycho-physical condition, and thus shape our well-being and, as a result, our health to a considerable extent. (Source: Metadisziplinäre Ästhetik by Michael Heinrich)


The effect of light on humans causes physiological and psychological reactions and has a direct impact on human well-being. As described in the definition, this happens predominantly intuitively. In our opinion, good lighting design must therefore create a subconscious sense of well-being. A synergy of spatial impressions, supported by the right amount of light.

The process of seeing can be divided into three sub-processes - perceiving, selecting and recognising. What we perceive with the visual organ is a number sensa within a certain field of vision. [...]

Perception is followed by selection, a process in which a certain part of the visual field is picked out and distinguished from the rest. [...]

The last process is that of recognition. Only now is the perceived and selected sensum recognised as the appearance of an object of the external world. [...] (Source: The Art of Seeing by Aldous Huxley)

Ultimately, lighting design leads to the planning of perception conditions.

It is necessary to record the meanings of a space according to its function, use and design, and to bring them into a hierarchy. The lighting design then only has to pick up on this hierarchy of meaning and support it, or at least not work against it.

This is where the luminance comes into play. Areas with high luminance inevitably settle at the top of the hierarchy of importance. Perception planning is thus oriented towards a luminance hierarchy that is subject to functional and design factors.

Different luminance intensities help to create spatial zonings. This in turn supports orientation, and again has a positive effect on human well-being. The luminance on different surfaces leads to another important basic concept in the field of lighting design - material light.

Material light

"It is not the amount of light produced but the spatial effect that is our planning goal." 

The reflected light modulated by the material contains the information for our image of the environment - and ultimately, this influences how we perceive our environment.

In addition to the light source itself, the material light plays an overriding role in our well-being. Light itself is invisible. It is only by striking and reflecting on a material that it makes things visually perceptible. Through the encounter of light and a material, information is released and becomes visible to the human eye.

However, in order not to overstrain sensory perception, it is important to find the right measure.

If too many lighting accents are set or a space is completely bathed in light, the human eye is quickly overwhelmed and overlooks the essentials.

It is therefore necessary to create a gentle interplay between light and shadows.

Light and shadows

All the diversity, all the charm and all the beauty of life are composed of light and shadow. (Quote from Leo Tolstoy)

Where there is no light, there is no shadow. Where there is no shadow, there is no diversity, no differentiation and thus no orientation.

Lighting design is also shadow design. Only those areas that are really meaningful may be put in the limelight. Incorrect emphasis only disturbs the image and prevents a perception of the architecture as a whole.

The lighting design must support the architecture and draw attention to it. Light has to be metered out.

An exciting façade with projections and recesses becomes a homogeneous dark surface at night without lighting. Conversely, however, full-area lighting can result in a brightly over-illuminated wall of light. Only through close observation of the façade details and the targeted use of lighting accents can the three-dimensionality of such a façade also be brought out at night.

Visual tranquillity

"Light should support the architecture."

Architectural lighting is only good if it does not impose itself. Ideally, when it is not even apparent where the light is coming from.

The main actor is the space created by the architecture; luminous elements should only come to the fore in exceptional cases. The aim is to reduce the perception of the luminous elements themselves, to move them into the background and to leave room for the lighting effect in interaction with the architecture.

In addition to the realisation that it is not the light but rather the lighting effect that is important, visual tranquillity also brings about the avoidance of visual ballast. In our case, this pertains to the avoidance of unintentionally generated light cones on vertical surfaces and the reduction of the lights' intrinsic luminance. Through the targeted use of lights with suitable radiation properties and the deliberate positioning of the lights, we create clear spatial impressions without disturbing, unwanted light effects.

Our many years of experience usually make it possible to achieve this with suitable standard lights.

In some cases, however, the standard range available in the market is not sufficient, and lights specifically tailored to the architecture are required.