Skylight Installation

I’m intrigued by the effect of color and light on our experience of a space. While renovating my home, we knocked down a wall between the living room, dining room, and kitchen to create a breakfast nook, then added a skylight overhead. We set the skylight within a long slot opening in the ceiling where the wall had been demolished—replacing a solid element that divides rooms with a void that connects rooms and the sky above. The skylight faces east to bring direct morning light into the breakfast area.

The long slot opening in the ceiling functions as a light scoop—reflecting sunlight onto surfaces, brightening the space below. A translucent acrylic panel added six inches below the raised ceiling can be slid in and out on aluminum angles.

Transparent colored films slid in above the acrylic panel allowed us to experiment with various lighting effects. This flexibility permitted us to dine bathed in a peaceful white or change colors with the seasons and special occasions.

To broad the range of lighting effects to the hours beyond sunrise, when the direct low light bounces in between the acrylic panel and the raised ceiling (see sketch above), I installed dimmable lights in the cavity above the acrylic panel. Now the backlit red film contrasts beautifully with the deep blue predawn sky, slowly transitioning as the sun approaches the horizon.

This installation is a work in progress and will likely remain so since there is always more to explore. For instance, I am curious to test the effect of painting the ceiling a color different from that of the film on the acrylic panel (see sketch above). I’m wondering how our perception of the two layered colors might be altered by the changing light conditions throughout the day—from morning, with the rising sun highlighting the void between colored layers, to midday, with the diffused light of an overcast sky, to evening, with the dimmable electrical lights adjusting the illumination in the void between colored layers.