Assess the Surface
Surface assessment refers to the process of thoroughly evaluating the characteristics and performance for which you’re considering. Remember, the surface acts as the face of your feature; once backlit, it undergoes a transformation. Backlighting will drastically change the surface’s appearance.
Understanding the shifts and changes that occur behind the surface is crucial in achieving your desired design aesthetic. It is important to view your surface as a lens. Consider whether it is an expressive work of art or a clean, sterile element. How transformative is the surface, and what are your specific performance demands? How will lighting, color and movement further change the surface?
Translucent surfaces such as onyx, marble, wood, fabrics, acrylics, glass, and original art will all backlight differently. Additionally, the geometric shape of your feature also influences its overall performance. Does the surface have miters or inside corners? Is it curved, or does it include varying forms along its length?
Complex forms behave differently than homogeneous flat surfaces. Larger features and panels may have fewer joints, but joint sizes will be larger compared to smaller surface panels. These factors impact both the structure and lighting strategy of your feature. It is important to identify how your surface differs from others and understand its unique performance attributes. This knowledge will aid in better assessing how the surface will behave under various conditions.
Once you have gained a better understanding of the challenges posed by your surface you can confidently move on to the design stages of supporting and lighting your feature.