The benefit of shadows in architecture

Natural light is vital for our wellness and wellbeing. The sun’s rays upon our skin give us a dose of Vitamin D that calms us and increases our energy. Although we know that ‘indoor wellbeing’ is associated with open spaces and natural light, can darkness and shadows in our indoor environments also be beneficial?

For centuries Japanese designers have championed dimly interior spaces, claiming that darkness can relax the mind and stimulate the imagination. Japanese designs are often constructed in such a way so interior spaces appear to change throughout the day and year resulting in some parts of a building being flooded with daylight, while other parts are filled with shadows.

In 1933, Japanese writer Junichiro Tanizaki published In Praise of Shadows, a body of work which assesses Japanese aesthetic and explores how Japanese designers champion the natural patterns of shadows. In contrast to Western notions of perception, Tanizaki notes that Japanese ideals are rooted in imperfection, and that beauty develops from various forms of light, not just one. 

Inspired by In Praise of Shadows, in 2014 Tel-Aviv based architectural studio Pitsou Kedem Architects constructed Corten House - a stylish contemporary residence situated in Savion, Israel. The building’s steel geometrical facade manipulates light, resulting in a chequerboard patterns which filter through the building’s interior.  

As illustrated in Corton House, shadows give architectural form and invoke a silence which contributes to how soothing and relaxing a building feels. Consequently, buildings in the west, such Google’s office in London are embracing a combination of natural light and shadows in their building design, to not only inspire their employees but also relax them.

To view more about Corten House, click here


Corten House Project: Pitsou Kedem Architects

Design team: Pitsou Kedem, Irene Goldberg, Hila Sella

Styling for photography: Eti Buskila and Irene Goldberg

Photography: Amit Geron 

There are currently no comments for this article.

Login to comment. slider