Exterior of LEA Associates South Asia office in New Delhi

The office of this case study LEA Associates South Asia Pvt Ltd (LASA) was established in 1993, and operates in India, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Over two decades, LEA India has experienced significant growth in terms of staffing as well as their project footprint. ISO certified, LEA India has grown to become a preferred consultant throughout Africa and Asia and an important stakeholder in infrastructure development throughout the world.

The Indian head office of LASA, located in Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road in New Delhi comprises of four floors with approximately 24,000 sq. ft. of total office space including materials testing lab located in the basement. The office interior is redesigned completely for a comfortable sitting of around 250 users (including visiting professionals/consultants).

While designing the interiors during recent renovation, the office demands more from the workplaces than ever before. So, as an architect-cum-interior designer the author adopted “human-centric approach” while conceptualising and designing the lighting plan.

The human-centric approach for office lighting in LASA
Advanced technology, innovative designs and an endless array of choices are reshaping the world of work. Working as a team for lighting design with CEO and Managing Directors of LASA, we wanted to decide the choice for employees to stand or sit, work quietly or next to colleagues, search for the sunlight or work aided by high performance task lighting. Most importantly through lighting we also wanted the employees to spend time in spaces that enhance the productivity and workplace culture, as well as their personal health and wellbeing.

It is known that better quality lighting, delivered in the right way, influences occupants: visually, biologically and emotionally. Human-centric lighting brings together a deep understanding of user needs, applications and scientific insights. The benefits are clear.

Benefits for building and office space users
Well-lit spaces can enhance employees’ health, mood and performance, reduce absenteeism and help company to retain staff, all of which contribute to a positive company culture.

Benefits for building owner and company
Carefully designed and selected lighting can give landlords a competitive edge by offering better customer/tenant experience in efficient spaces that require less maintenance.

Key elements considered for lighting design
Below given are the key elements considered while lighting design process:
• To retain the culture and identity of the space.
• Positively contributed to the mood and well-being of the occupants.
• Enhances the mood for the task at hand.
• Balance and quality of the light required.
• Colour appearance and balance.
• Control of glare and brightness.

Lighting a modern office takes sincere efforts more than a few randomly positioned LEDs. The designer considered a host of factors: from efficiency to ambience, and from colour rendering to lighting’s influence on day-to-day rhythms as he understands that good lighting influences occupants visually, biologically and emotionally.

VBE Index
During old time, the quality of lighting only considered the illuminance (lux) within a working office space/area and its immediate surroundings. However, a raft of research from researchers confirms that ambient lighting “the lighting of walls and the ceiling” influences us both biologically and emotionally. The level of ambient light is very important for our alertness and therefore our ability to perform tasks efficiently over time.

The VBE Index is the foundation of the approach to lighting design, as it assesses the subjective lighting experience. Each element, from how the lighting enhances vision to how it affects biology and emotional awareness; is weighted differently depending on the type of room, space and the activity. The higher the VBE score, the better the lighting.
The VBE index is well considered while designing the light and its levels for all the work stations, cabins, meeting rooms, casual areas, waiting lounges and board room. It has been tried during the process to achieve the maximum VBE score and to successfully bring out the better lighting.

Human Centric Lighting
When office workers or employees spend 90 per cent of their work days indoors, lighting is more than functional. The best lighting is human-centric, enhancing wellbeing while helping building owners or companies to create healthy workplaces.

Generally human beings set their body clocks to the sun. Artificial light may have changed the way we work, but it has not changed the human biology. Our physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle, are regulated by the levels of light in our surroundings.

Exposure of more than 1,000 lux is necessary for human health, but most people in offices get less than 500 lux. In comparison, those who work outdoors can be exposed to more than 1,000 lux. Human-centric lighting adapts to follow the patterns of normal daylight to address these daily deficiencies. This helps the body’s hormone balance to adjust naturally throughout the day so that one can feel alert when required and sleepy and relaxed at the right time.

While there are many variables that influence how individuals respond to light experiments show that people say human-centric lighting makes them feel better; more alert, more productive and happier. White light with 6500 K colour temperature is considered as the key factor of human-centric lighting in the office of LASA.

White Light (6500 k Colour Temperature)
Tracking the natural rhythm of daylight, white lighting changes from cool to warm to help keep our internal clocks in synchronisation with the natural day/night cycle, to prepare our body clocks for the setting sun. When we correctly integrate white light, we maintain balance, stabilise moods and promote relaxation.

In office environments, this can improve levels of awareness and productivity, and contribute to workers health and wellbeing, which is perfectly done in the office premises of LASA. Below given is the lighting fixtures details considered in the lighting design for this office.

Think of a cool, intense light when you want to turn on yourself or a warm dimmed light for reading, tasks, discussions and conversations which require concentration. Using a suspended direct or indirect downlight with combination of linear lights, provides the ambient and task light requirements, with the colour temperature and intensity.

Buildings can improve our comfort, boost our productivity and performance and enhance our health and wellness. As a designer for good lighting; the factors considered and successfully achieved in this refurbishment project are:
• Horizontal Illuminance and uniformity
• Colour quality
• Light walls and ceiling colour in combination with recessed downlights
• Increased spacing between luminaires
• Control of light output, colour temperature and dimming
• Limitation of glare through increasing the luminous aperture of luminaire
• Combination, balance and integration of direct and indirect illumination.

Lighting is an integral component when planning offices, and levels of economy and comfort are some of the most important factors both for the company and its employees. Selection of the right light makes sure of optimal visual conditions, creates an efficient and motivating work atmosphere and also serves as an attractive element of design.

After successful renovation of the LASA office interiors in the year 2017; the user experience till date regarding lighting and Experienced Value (VBE) is more than satisfactory. Employees as well as visitors enjoys being part of the office with enhanced mood for the task at hand.

As a conclusion “the solution of fortunate and wealthy office lighting for any modern office is to intensify the work environment for all the users; ‘Visually, Biologically and Emotionally’. Human-centric lighting in office complex brings together a great understanding of user applications, needs and scientific perception.”

Ashish Batra,
Architect-cum-Urban Planner

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