Imke Wies van Mil has been named one of the ‘40 Under 40’ most promising individuals in lighting design in the 2019 Lighting Design Awards. The award, which recognizes excellence in both practice and research, is awarded internationally to young practitioners pushing the field forward.
"It is fantastic when your work and efforts are being recognized. I am very excited to be part of and continue to contribute to the field of lighting design,” said van Mil.
Van Mil was recognized amongst others for her research focusing on the benefits of artificial lighting in school buildings – in particular, the effect that artificial lighting can have on students’ ability to focus on learning. Tested in the Frederiksbjerg School in Aarhus, van Mil’s research found that pendant lighting above work zones had positive behavioral effects such as lowering noise levels, which looks to benefit pupil’s ability to concentrate.
“A lot of schools use a fairly standard setup where light is projected downward from the ceiling using a fluorescent tube or LED light sources, which creates a very even, uniform light. For a large degree, this is fine, it’s an efficient and basic foundation of spatial lighting,” van Mil explains. “But in smaller spaces, for example, meeting rooms, you’ll see additional light – perhaps a pendant or a table lamp – to create a different ambiance.”
“We noticed that in a lot of contemporary classrooms, that hasn’t yet been explored –but when speaking with teachers, it became apparent to me that they do try to use the lighting they had to encourage different behaviors, like turning the lights off for a quiet reading circle.”
After installing pendant lighting, van Mil’s measurements showed significant decreases in classroom noise levels. “This particularly benefits the children who struggle to concentrate the most,” says van Mil. These results confirm that there are good reasons to look into other lighting solutions than the ones the building industry often resort to with ceiling lights.”
Van Mil is one of Henning Larsen’s Ph.D. fellows, a program that embeds researchers within the office to further their research and enhance the quality of built projects.