Sweden

The concept of light

A month ago I found myself strutting around in hot Stockholm afternoon; all the Swedes seemed to be embracing the sun while I was running amok seeking refuge from the closest star of the solar system.

I ended up in Nordisk Museet in Djurgården and it turned out to be a great learning experience. Apart from learning about the Sápmi tribe, Eva chair, August Strindberg’s life apart from Miss Julie I had elaborate and thoughtful reflections on the importance of light in human life. The gallery, Nordic lights, focused on the idea how Scandinavians have mastered the concept and art of light as they live in two extremes – in summers they are drenched with sun while in winters they have sun only as a theoretical concept. The idea is not only to see clearly but also create a cozy atmosphere around you in the room and derive pleasure out of it. How to strive for Lagom while lighting your home given too much light can cause light pollution and too less will make you grope for things. The daylight is considered the benchmark in achieving this balance and thus started the human adventure for optical quest.

ljusets_former_12

How lights have changed the world we see around us!

I was particularly interested in all the optics related ideas given I strive for minimalism and want to modulate the light around me so it doesn’t cause eye pain and provides ample amount for me to read, execute tasks, and have hygge as well.

It is interesting why Scandinavians mastered the art of lighting. Back in 1930s, Sweden and Finland were host to a few most densely populated cities in the western world which gave rise to the concept of Folkhemmet( Swedish welfare state) and small apartments. The obvious corollary was to obviate anything that is too large and awkward. The design of furniture and light has to be functional. Understand what is the need and then shape the object. Soon the artists joined the crusade so everyone can enjoy the designs at much cheaper price;  artistic expression focused on functionalism thus giving rise to modernism. The gallery focused on how we evolved from the fireplace to PH lamps. (Paul Henningsen).

IMG_20180715_144007

The design principle ( a visit to Nordic museum in Seattle)

One important  principle to remember while choosing the light is the temperature that it works on. Warm light – temperature 2700 to 3500 Kelvin (yellow in color) and cold light – 3500 to 5000 Kelvin (Blue white/white in color), candlelight 1850 Kelvin. Most hygge temp e.g. sunset, candle light, and campfires is ~ 1800 Kelvin. (Kelvin is the standard unit to measure temperature and 273.15 Kelvin = 0 Celsius)

The question that we should ask while thinking about the functional lighting is what happens in the space? Is it for reading and writing or to accentuate focus on something. That’s how the functional lighting works.

Too much light and one would start feeling being interrogated in the room thus staying away from ceiling light that creates an industrial ambience is a good idea; unless it comes with a dimmer so you can modulate the brightness. Too much light can kill the hygge of the room.

One interesting concept is the use of several light sources and the localized lighting( concentrate on lighting areas of the room than entire room).

I have experienced that too much light cause discomfort in the room and even a small light source works if the room isn’t used for working. For general lighting we can use large arched lamps, small chandeliers, or overhead lights to create localized and focused lighting. Hanging central lights provide focused and softer light. There are many lamps that diffuse light through origami structure to create multiple focal points and many geometric lamps that help develop patterned light across the room.

For those who read and write, having arched floor lamps with cool white light is apt while to highlight certain spaces one should think of accentuating using low level table lamps.

Apart from focusing on the concept of light one should focus on the color palette of the room as well. Low key color palette with use of white and grey on the walls helps light to bounce.

These are the basic principles that one should start playing around with while thinking of light around them, there isn’t any one stop solution as the light is a subjective concept. Thankfully we live in an industrial world with enough options to cater to our needs.

IMG_20180603_115418

Nordisk Museet – How functionalism dominates the design process; PH lamp on display.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Indian Women and Independence

Point 1 : I didn’t have a better title for this post

Point 2: This post was in the draft mode in an open Chrome window for more than 2 months.

Point 3: A phone call with my cousin made me realize that the post is in draft mode

Few weeks ago I was analyzing the web content, its relevant data and the investments in the TV and digital channels for advertisements. Eventually I ended up watching the old advertisements from India in 90s to reminisce the good old times. Even Lithuanian writer Giedra Radvilavičiūtė agrees with me that Happiness is reminiscing. One thing that was very stark in those ads and even the ads that surface today was men were shown purchasing cars and taking loans for the houses while the women were shown happy in the kitchen and taking care of what goes into family members’ bellies or how white the shirts are. The competition among women wasn’t about who will write better python code but who will produce whiter shirts. Shifting the focus to movies and most of them fail the Mako Mori test ( film should have at least one female character who isn’t supporting a man’s story and she should have her own narrative). Almost all of them were rarely ambitious beyond getting married to someone they loved, no career, nothing. Jewelry is sold under the pseudo emotional statement that it makes a woman happy and having gold is associated with domestic stability. Being in a couple is the only approved way to live.

What else can you expect from the patriarchal, myopic society of India where women have been marginalized for centuries and have played only certain roles in the society barring a few outliers. Few days ago I was at Vasa Museum in Stockholm, a museum of Viking ship from 1626. The ship sank and so did women and men aboard. The women were identified as Beata and Yvla(made up names given by Archaeologists). I learned while sati was the only ‘chaste’ choice for a widow in India, Svenska women enjoyed far higher rights and sort of absolute freedom post the death of their husbands (Beata was probably a widow)

Clearly, we have a long way to go.

 

A Marathon tale

Yesterday, I ran my first marathon despite not being in best of health.  My body is crying for help. Everything is hurting from hips to knees and from back to toes. I quit running on the 19th mile and walked the remaining distance. If I were alone I wouldn’t have gone for even 10 miles but there is something about the New York’s crowd- it cheers you up and makes you push your limits. I got a cheer when I ran past  east 81st street on 1st avenue – Yorkville, the place where I live. At 19th mile I just sat on the road thinking whether to quit. An old couple who was distributing bananas gave me wet kleenex and a pair of socks for my toes were bleeding. I injured my feet and ankle ,pulled hamstrings and have sore toes but I felt ecstatic.

IMG_20151102_140752

I came across the small documentary by ESPN about Joy Johnson , the woman who ran 25 New York marathons. She was 86 and passed away hours after finishing her 25th marathon. She never ran before the age of 59. I am overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and perseverance shown by the great woman.

29johnson-square640

An excerpt from the interview of the director of the documentary “I love that she found a passion for running so late in life. At age 59, most people are thinking about retiring and sitting on a beach. She started running and fell in love with something brand new, which is so cool. Most 30-year-olds feel lost if they aren’t on the “right” path. She taught us it’s never too late to try — or fall in love with — a new direction.”

http://espn.go.com/espnw/athletes-life/article/14009608/the-story-86-year-old-woman-ran-25-nyc-marathons

Image Source :   http://www.nytimes.com/news/the-lives-they-lived/2013/12/21/joy-johnson/