It has been said that happy, healthy employees are also productive ones. At progressive offices, access to natural light is high on the list of mood-boosting on-site benefits. For spaces farthest from the windows, this can mean using innovative LED lighting to mimic natural light—even sunsets. (Tunable artificial light is thought to support circadian rhythms as much as real sun does.)
One company leading the charge into such natural-light simulations is Austin, Texas–based Ketra, which offers a fully integrated system from the proprietary driver chip technology and lamping to controls and fixtures. Its Natural Show setting, which transitions throughout the day without any intervention, can even be programmed to imitate the intensity, brightness, and temperatures of daylight in a client’s geographic region. “Ketra’s solution is based on an astronomical clock contained within our controllers,” explains CEO Nav Sooch. “This clock is programmed to your location, knows sunrise and sunset, and extrapolates the Natural Show from these points.” What it doesn’t do is mimic the exact light outside at a given moment. (Feedback from customers was that even on cloudy days, they prefer spaces to appear sunlit.) So far, the Natural Show setting has been installed in offices for Squarespace, Vice Media, and the Foster + Partners–designed R/GA, among others. It runs from $5 to $15 per square foot.
Not all Ketra’s lighting systems run the Natural Show setting nonstop. “A project can have multiple programmed settings, allowing [someone] to change the lighting at the tap of a finger,” says Sooch, but “most use the Natural Show as default.” Naturally.