This is UNESCO’s Year of the Light and Light-based Technologies, with the educational, science and cultural organisation hailing as essentials examples of LED lighting’s sustainability alongside water- efficient appliances and thermal comfort insulation.

Lighting has humanising elements. Research by global workplace provider Regus shows that 52 per cent of Australians feel more stressed by their work than they did five years ago. Understaffing is the leading cause (17 per cent), followed by technology issues (16 per cent) and unhealthy lifestyle (16 per cent); Sydneysiders are the most stressed (55 per cent) and people from Adelaide are the least (45 per cent).

When you work in a home office you are more than likely to work on your own, which might perhaps be another way of saying you are understaffed. Certainly you benefit from making the place as comfortable and enticing as possible.






House in House by MAMM Design in Tokyo, Japan. Image: MAMM Design 

Build’s Darcy Wilson has chosen “26 of the world’s most stunning home offices” and most of them have made sure they have access to natural light via windows of all sizes, roof lights, and glass balcony doors. There are Point Piper harbour views, city views from New York lofts, and one office even has a street view on one side and that of a swimming pool on the other.

Point Piper Home. Image: ljhooker

Justin Kemp surfing with the sand sandpit between his toes. Image: Justin Kemp

I particularly liked the desk on a sandpit with the occupant rummaging his feet around in the sand, light streaming in as at a beach. A Tokyo office, meanwhile, relies on a spotlight attached to one of the shelves that go round two walls and across the ceiling in between, and a house in Marrickville (Sydney) by David Boyle Architect has two bright yellow, tall task lights prominent amid shelving stacked high with books and audio visual paraphernalia.









Marrickville House by David Boyle Architect. Images: David Boyle Architect

Creative use of light is also evident at Wonder Full, a light and water show from Australian company Laservision that was awarded the 2014 Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Award for outstanding contributions to the tourism industry in the Heritage and Culture category. Shafts of green, blue and pink shine nightly at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, artificial but nonetheless spectacular.


 Image: Magazin

An unusual combination of light and water is also found in the Hansgrohe Axor LampShower. Designed by Oki Sato of Japanese design studio Nendo, water jets are embedded in the lamp’s wire frame and flow at 12 litres per minute. They work with a standard light bulb and 12 V power supply unit for separate switching on and off, and come in chrome, matte black and white, gold and brushed nickel, as well as wall and ceiling mounted.

A light very much on dry land is from the latest prototype-to-products range from Workshopped in Sydney. Sophia Pierce’s single directional light can either be suspended or placed on one of its facets. Flexible and robust, the light is said to be a particularly useful solution to limited lighting. It can sit on the floor, be wall or ceiling mounted on removable hooks, and works even on uneven surfaces.

Image right: Buoy Light by Sophia Pierce. Source: Workshopped

Vivid Sydney, the city’s annual festival of light, music and ideas, was also launched recently and runs from May 22-June 8. According to the Sydney Morning Herald Vivid Light curator Anthony Bastick, "The artists have taken on the approach of [looking at] how lighting can make people feel better”.

Deborah Singerman runs her own writing, editing and project managing consultancy specialising in the urban built environment and community.  @deborahsingerma