Prof. Volker von Kardorff, Dipl.-Ing., MSc, studied architecture at the Universities of Braunschweig and Stuttgart. After having earned a Master degree in „MSc Light and Lighting“ at The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College of London (UCL) he started his professional career in 1994. Kardorff Engineers was established in 1997 and has grown to 16 architects and engineers working on a variety of projects in all areas of architecture, most of them in Europe, with an additional focus on projects in the Middle East. Since 2011 Prof. Volker von Kardorff teaches lighting design at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. “First acknowledge, then illuminate” – this is the philosophy which defines the work of Kardorff Engineers.
Good Light Above the Clouds
The innovative cabin lighting of the Airbus A350 turns this aircraft into the first passenger airplane worldwide where daylight served as example. The lighting moods were developed by Kardorff Ingenieure in collaboration with an expert team of Lufthansa AG. The cabin lighting focuses on passenger’s needs through 24 different light scenes for boarding, take-off, cruise, sleeping, dinner, wake-up and deboarding. This helps to create a pleasant atmosphere during every phase of the flight and therefore significantly improve passengers’ wellbeing.
Starting with the dream of illuminating an aircraft cabin for the first time in the history of the lighting design office, the presentation outlines a new way in the creative lighting design process. Over 20 years of planning expertise in interior and exterior lighting built the preconditions for converting the vision and inspiration into a technical draft using a creative design phase based on user experience. We live in an era of lighting technology where terms „human centric lighting“, „dynamic light“, „circadian light“ and „melanopic effectiveness“ give the opportunity to define the term “good light” in a new way. Yet, all discussions around the lighting technology are nowadays polarized into scientific semantics (e.g. „light spectra“ or „efficacy spectra“) or semantics of economy (e.g. “efficiency through performance improvement”). The philosophical turning point of the project was defined by a borderline between the physiological and psychological light effects, which simultaneously also establishes the contact zone.
Not only the aircraft cabin was illuminated within the scope of this project but also the field was exposed to the light bringing the user into the focus of attention and this not only as carrier of intrinsecally photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. The experience accumulated in the course of the project offers the way of bringing similar considerations into other fields of lighting design, where the technological and scientific development have shown progress partly without particularly taking into consideration user acceptance and needs.