Experiencing Wooden Ambiences with Nordic Light: Scale Model Comparative Studies under Real Skies

Geneviève Poirier, Claude M. H. Demers, André Potvin


This study explored the potential of natural light to enhance wooden interior environments. Under Nordic light, natural materials such as wood finishes present an opportunity to create warm, bright, and pleasant atmospheres, enhancing psychological well-being and comfort. The objectives of this project were twofold: first, to study the diversity of northern sky conditions in terms of cloud cover and thickness, and, second, to evaluate the impacts of the diversity of natural light on five wooden scale models. The methodology involved weather data collection that took place during the spring equinox in Quebec City. In order to create a cloudiness scale, sky condition data and photometric measurements were collected. A photographic survey occurred in five scale models made with interior wooden finishes of varying color combinations, documenting the impact of sky diversity on brightness, hue, and contrast. Simultaneous scale model studies under a real sky allowed direct comparison under the same lighting conditions. There was a remarkable diversity of visual ambiences for a southeast-oriented space depending on the position of the sun and sky conditions. Gray-dyed wooden finishes created dull and unchanging atmospheres, while yellow oaked surfaces allowed various dynamic ambiences.


Color; Wood; Sky cloudiness; Sun; Scale model; Real sky; Daylighting; Ambience; Light; Wood finish

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