There are a lot of important factors when choosing the right light fixture. We really care about the selections such as lumens per watt, color temperatures but how about light distribution?
The importance of distribution of light is actually in the fixture itself. With the correct distribution of light, you can lower fixture counts and get a better sustainable project. Determining a luminaire’s light distribution can be also a key consideration.
Light distribution is basically the projected pattern of light which is fixture can distribute onto a surface. Fixtures are available in wide variety of distribution patterns, from uniformly diffuse to highly directional, narrow beams.
The effect and diffusion of light vary according to the beam of light. We can collect this issue in 7 ways;
This type of luminaire can be used to create a feeling of the height in large rooms without low ceilings. The term generally refers to light emitted in a downward direction. Troffers and downlights are two types of direct lighting luminaires.
Light reflected from the ceiling tends to soften shadows and improve brightness ratios. Luminaire brightness can be approximately equal to the brightness of the ceiling because light also is directed downward.
These luminaires provide approximately equal light to the floor and ceiling and very little light to the sides. Consequently, brightness can be low in the zone of direct glare.
These fixtures provide approximately equal light in all directions. To control direct glare, diffusing enclosures should be large and lamp wattage low.
A small percentage of light directed upward tends to soften shadows caused by direct luminaries, like downlights. These applications are where strong light is not necessary e.g., stairways, corridors, and storage areas.
Direct; Wide Beam Spread
Direct fixtures can be used for focus and emphasis. To prevent high brightness ratios, ensure that sufficient illumination is provided on walls and other vertical surfaces.
Direct;Highly Concentrated Beam Spread Downlight
Beam spread depends on the reflector, lens, and position of lamp in luminaire.
Architectural Lighting Book: Architectural Lighting by M. David Egan and Victor W. Olgyay