Lighting: Light Control Experiment

This assignment was written by Jessica Ainsworth-Truong for use in post-secondary education.  Use is not permitted without written consent.


The purpose of this exercise is to explore how various materials affect light and are affected by light.  This assignment is to be very free form, and you are encouraged to do as much exploration as possible.  Anything can be a light control element – from packing tape, to metal screen, to mirrors.  Use your imagination for discovery.  The discoveries made about materials will be used in the construction of your prototype luminaire.


Over the next week, document how different materials influence and are influenced by the light produced by a bulb.  You will use this same type bulb to build your luminaire.  Record your explorations with a camera – either film or digital (don’t forget to turn the flash off). These materials can come from anywhere.  Remember, all materials can affect light and that most materials can take on different forms – by folded, crumpled, stretched, held close or far away, etc.  You will be sharing your explorations with the class in a PowerPoint presentation.

Required Elements

  • Minimum of 8 different materials to explore
  • At least 16 images of light affecting your materials
  • Keep track of the materials used and describe the lighting effect
  • Organize into a brief PowerPoint show
  • Group will be responsible for discussing the pros and cons of all light controls as a step towards designing the fixture.

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