Outdoor Facade Lighting Design

Views: 0     Author: Jessica Liu     Publish Time: 2022-05-30      Origin: https://www.suntechleds.com

In the design of facade lighting, the direction and color of the light are the decisive factors that affect the facade image of buildings. The facade lighting design adopts a combination of different lighting designs and control methods, so that the building at night is no longer dark and ordinary, and the facade of the building presents a different image. Appropriate facade lighting can create a lively and lively building. It can also expand the commercial value of the building. In this article, Suntech will share with you how to design facade lighting, as well as typical cases of facade lighting.


Eight Different Ways of Facade Lighting Design

  1. Lighting of the solid facade

  2. Lighting of vertical split facade

  3. Lighting of horizontally divided facades

  4. Concave and convex facade lighting

  5. Facade Lighting with Windows or Holes

  6. Strip facade lighting

  7. Transparent glass curtain wall facade lighting

  8. Transparent Facade Media Lighting

Two important concepts in elevation lighting design: Wall washing and wall grazing

  1. Wash the wall

  2. Wall Grazing

  3. Should I choose wall washes or grazing walls for my exterior lighting project?

10 Classic Cases of Exterior Facade Lighting Design

  1. George Washington Bridge

  2. Interactive Intelligent Systems

  3. Commercial Building Glass Curtain Wall Illumination

  4. Residential Community House

  5. K11 Mall

  6. High Tech Led Bridge Lighting

  7. Club Court Arena And Stadium Lighting

  8. Culture And Art Center Architectural

  9. Multi-purpose Super Complex Office Building

  10. Outdoor Media Art & Design Facade

Eight Different Ways of Facade Lighting Design

Facade lighting usually needs to be based on the actual situation of the building. The following is how we summarize the lighting design of 7 different types of buildings:

1. Lighting of the solid facade---Floodlight/Wall washer

Floodlighting a solid facade flattens the facade while accentuating the surface texture of the facade material. As the facade rises, the brightness of the facade will gradually decrease, and there will be a gradual transition from light to dark from the ground to the sky.

Lighting of three-dimensional facade

Picture 1 - LED wall washer light project

2. Lighting of vertical split facade---Flood light/Wall washer/Spotlight

The narrow light projections of the vertical dividing facades enhance the facade effect of the facade divisions. To avoid shadows, the luminaires should be positioned correctly and the lighting direction should be parallel to the facade. The outdoor lighting of columns should choose the narrow beam angle spotlight to emphasize the height of the building.

Lighting of vertical split facade

Picture 2 - Vertical split facade lighting with spot light

3. Lighting of horizontally divided facades---flood lights/line lights

For buildings with multi-layered eaves horizontally divided, when light is projected onto the horizontally divided facades, long and heavy shadows will appear on the raised parts of the facades, and upward lighting close to the facades will produce hierarchical shadows, from bottom to top The sense is gradually weakened, thereby enhancing the three-dimensional effect of the building.

Lighting of horizontally divided facades

Picture 3 - Horizontally divided facades with flood light

Another most common way is to arrange LED linear lights on the horizontal partition structure of the facade to represent the horizontal partition of the building.

Lighting of horizontally divided facades

Picture 4 - Horizontally divided facades with linear light

4. Concave and convex facade lighting---flood light / spotlight

Generally speaking, different parts of the concave and convex facade can be treated with different illuminances or different light colors to enhance the rhythm of the facade appearance. Using wide beam angle floodlights will reduce the contrast between elevation bumps, making the building visually more "flat".

Concave and convex facade lighting

Picture 5 - Concave facade lighting with floodlight

5. Facade Lighting with Windows or Holes - Flood Lights/Linear Lights

When opening windows or openings for architectural facade design, it should be noted that the lighting of the facade should not cause glare to indoor people. The general use of floodlights and line lights to accentuate the outline of a window or hole enhances the symmetry and drama of the building.

Facade Lighting with Windows or Holes

Picture 6 - Lighting facade with windows 

6. Strip facade lighting---Flood light

For the strip-shaped layered facade, the contrast between the bright windows (interior) and the dark facade (exterior) is intensified by spreading light from the inside to the outside.

Strip facade lighting

Picture 7 - Lighting for strip-shaped facade with indoor floodlight

7. Transparent glass curtain wall facade lighting --- down light / linear light

During the day in daylight, the transparent facade of the building is dark and reflects the surrounding environment. And at night, interior lighting allows one to see the inside of the building. Glazing on the top of the interior enhances the building’s presence, making the interior brighter at night, and the facade’s framing creates a silhouette effect.

Transparent glass curtain wall facade lighting

Picture 8 - Transparent glass facadelighting with indoor linear light

8. Transparent Facade Media Lighting ---LED mesh/led dot light

The transparent media facade lighting adopts a double-layer glass curtain wall system. The outermost layer is a decorative curtain wall, using ultra-white dotted glass with a coverage rate of 50%. The inner side of the building is a curtain wall with a medium gray glass. It does not block the view of the interior, nor does it destroy the original aesthetic design of the building.

Transparent Facade Media Lighting

Picture 9 - LED mesh screen for facade lighting

Two important concepts in elevation lighting design: Wall washing and wall grazing

If you want to understand the design of facade lighting, you must first distinguish the two most commonly used modern exterior lighting methods which are easily confused-- wall washing and grazing.

1. Wash the wall

Wall washing refers to illuminating the wall with lights evenly like washing the wall, you can make the wall not produce shadow patches by evenly distributing the lamps on the whole wall from top to bottom or from bottom to top.


  • Evenly illuminated wall washes give walls a clearer and brighter appearance.

  • It also helps to better enhance the structure of the wall.

  • Washing the walls makes the room look more lively as a whole.

2. Wall Grazing

Grazing walls are another form of surface facade lighting that is the opposite of the wall wash effect. This is achieved by providing the fixture closer to the wall so that the lux level decreases with distance from the fixture. Luminaires can be placed on the ground and focused upwards to create a mystical, enchanting or captivating effect on surfaces


  • Wall grazing helps make textured vertical surfaces more visible or prominent by enhancing shadows.

  • Makes the textured surface of the wall more aesthetic.

wall washing vs wall grazing

Picture 10 - Difference between wall wash and wall graze

The difference between grazing and wall washing is that the light cast on the surface of the building is not uniform and creates very pronounced or pronounced shadows. Click here to learn more about the difference between wall washing and wall grazing.

3. Should I choose wall washes or grazing walls for my exterior lighting project?

Wall washing or grazing needs to choose a suitable method according to the project area and distance. It is worth noting that the projection distance of the lamps is related to the lens and power. The higher the power, the brighter the projection brightness, the narrower the lens angle, and the longer the projection distance. 

The lighting effect should be determined according to the actual situation/mood/occasion: RGB or RGBW and other lighting change effects and DMX512 control, DMX512 changes more widely, depending on the actual needs. Create millions of color combinations with the above-mentioned fixtures and accessories. Lighting effects can be changed according to the occasion and atmosphere of the festival.

The following are some typical high-quality products from Suntech:

10 Classic Cases of Exterior Facade Lighting Design

Here, we will introduce 10 classic exterior facade lighting cases and their lighting details which can give us some inspiration.

George Washington Bridge

1. George Washington Bridge

The George Washington Bridge is a tolled suspension bridge spanning the Hudson River between Manhattan, New York, and Fort Lee, New Jersey, and an important traffic artery in New York City. an important tourist corridor. The George Washington Bridge was designed by lead civil engineer Othmar Ammann, design engineer Allston Dana, and assistant chief engineer Edward W. Stearns with Cass Gilbert as consulting architect. With their full cooperation, the bridge body has been carefully designed for lighting, which reflects the majesty of the bridge, so that the bridge landscape lighting presents a poetic atmosphere with splendor in the changing.

In terms of lighting design, the bridge adopts body contour lighting as a whole, and the main tower and the cable on the upper part of the bridge are illuminated. The line light source method illuminates the cables into luminous lines, and the lines are connected into a plane, presenting the three-dimensional beauty of the bridge, which looks like a piano suspended in the air from a distance; combined with the physical characteristics of the bridge, on the premise of ensuring the effect, Taking economy as the starting point, the entire bridge lighting system is divided into functional lighting and landscape lighting. Simple and efficient street lights are installed on the sidewalks of the bridge deck to ensure functional road lighting.

2. Interactive Intelligent Systems

Interactive Intelligent Systems Usually, buildings are static, which is no doubt, but is there any way to make buildings dynamic? The answer lies in the media facade. Facade media is an important high-tech component of general urban landscape lighting issues. Suntech believes that architecture must be changeable, and buildings do not need to be static for a long time, so we have always emphasized changing their state from a visual system. On the left is a Facade Media Project, which is based on electronic display technology and uses LED mesh to cover the building facade to form a display interface similar to a large screen. Because the building facade is covered by the display interface, the architecture is greatly weakened, and the role of the building as a means of communication and media platform is greatly enhanced, but the media facade is not simply adding an advertising display screen on the building facade. It is also a mode of visual expression that emphasizes artistry.

3. Commercial Building Glass Curtain Wall Illumination

Commercial Building Glass Curtain Wall Illumination

A glass curtain facade has integrated architectural aesthetics, structure display, and functional lighting. Its appearance has changed the single expression form of architecture. Especially with the development of LED, the LED pixel mesh screen can be freely attached to the glass curtain wall, providing architects with a new degree of freedom in the choice of outside facade lighting, so that the traditionally heavy building facades are gradually transformed into the lighter exterior wall system.

This is an irregular commercial building, the entire building is composed of glass and steel, and the façade is not flat but geometric. The sense of contour is very strong, so the engineer suggested illuminating the wall from the inner space, adopting the way of outward penetration, and using the indoor light to transmit outward to form the night scene lighting effect. There are two methods to light up this featured building: one is to illuminate with the existing outdoor lighting fixtures instead of installing internal light-transmitting lighting equipment. The other is to install internal light-transmitting fixtures especially. The building is specially installed with interior lighting fixtures, which illuminate the transparent walls with colorful lights, making the large structure more attractive in the dark night.

4. Residential Community House

Residential Community House As the form of building space closest to people is becoming more and more diverse, the residential outdoor lighting design is also more colorful. The great outdoor house lighting ideas add emotion to life, and at the same time create a high-quality living environment so that everyone in it all feels comfortable and warm.

The project uses a combination of exterior finishes and interior contour lighting to create a welcoming home. The roof is randomly spread out with with dot lights, imitating the starry sky, and the interior of the house is illuminated by wall washer floodlights so that the surface of the house is brighter than the surroundings, which highlights the building at dark night. And in modern landscape lighting projects, the outdoor lighting ideas for front of house is also important for the whole residential lighting, which makes the house more elegant.

5. K11 Mall

K11 Mall Lighting Commercial building lighting design needs to avoid "individual beauty", and it is necessary to investigate the lighting conditions of surrounding buildings and surrounding roads at night, etc., and then design the light based on the environment to achieve form harmonious and unified lighting effect. At the same time, the coordination of commercial building lighting at night and day is also a point that cannot be ignored. Not only should the night be beautiful, but also whether the lighting equipment will cause a sense of cumbersomeness to the daytime landscape.

The case uses linear lights and wall washer lights to outline the outline of the building, so as to express the graceful outline of the object and the lighting of the lines. Start with camping and landscaping to attract the attention of passersby. Appropriately adopt design techniques such as dynamic lighting, lighting interaction, and interactive media to endow commercial buildings with dynamism and passion, add highlights to commercial buildings, and enhance their commercial competitiveness.

6. High Tech Led Bridge Lighting

High Tech Led Bridge Lighting The bridge is connected with the main road of the city, which not only bears the driveway lighting , but also is the main visual axis of the urban area. Therefore, the lighting design of the bridge should first ensure the traffic lighting of the bridge deck, and then the landscape lighting of the bridge body. Each bridge has its own morphological characteristics.

In this case, it is very clever to use a combination of floodlights and point light sources to highlight the structure of the bridge itself according to the symmetrical characteristics of the bridge's architectural center. According to the structural characteristics of the bridge, it is divided into two levels, and different expression techniques are used for landscape lighting design. The first layer is the side of the bridge deck, which is connected by point light sources to form a line to highlight the outline of the bridge; the lighting of the geometric arc outline on the side of the arch bridge on the second layer adopts flood lighting to show the complete and three-dimensional effect of the bridge.

7. Club Court Arena And Stadium Lighting

Club Court Arena And Stadium Lighting The gymnasium is a venue for everyone's entertainment and leisure, and it is also an area that can be used as a performance center to carry out various performance-themed activities. Therefore, the lighting design of the exterior wall of the gymnasium has become the current focus, providing tourists with a comfortable outdoor leisure space, mainly the stadium, to display the image of the city, thereby promoting economic development.

The case uses wall washers to outline the outline of the building so as to express the graceful outline of the object and the lighting of the lines, and the column lights outdoor highlight the columns surrounding the stadium and show the feature of the building. The main facade glass of the gymnasium is dominated by line lights, and the overall color temperature is comfortable and warm. By increasing the artistry of the light environment, visual fatigue is relieved, and the rhythm of the night scene sequence is effectively guaranteed.

8. Culture And Art Center Architectural

Culture And Art Center Architectural It has become a trend to hold art exhibitions in shopping malls or use shopping malls as art spaces. With the development of urbanization, the population is more and more integrated into consumer culture, art has developed into a new space, and almost every artist has begun to explore and utilize these spaces to attract more audience

The architectural structure of the Cultural and Art Center itself is very artistic. The short-line lights surround the wall and are evenly distributed on the entire outer wall of the Art Center, like the next meteor shower. At the top of the building, wall washers illuminate the rounded tops of the walls. On the front of the building, long linear lights outline the outdoor steps. Narrow-angle wall washers are used in the corners to increase the brightness of the entire wall. Around the building, spotlights are installed in the corners to protrude part of the wall to create a visual gradient effect. The architectural up lighting is important for illuminating the building, which enables the building to be particularly eye-catching in the city at night, exuding an artistic sense that echoes its own attributes.

9. Multi-purpose Super Complex Office Building

Multi-purpose Super Complex Office Building The headquarters office building of Guangzhou Chimelong Group is located in Panyu District, Guangzhou City. The interior design, lighting design, art consultant and logo design of the entire office building are completed by Studio HBA. This case continues the corporate culture of Chimelong Group's "natural symbiosis" as the design concept, combined with the unique wildlife resources of Chimelong Tourist Resort, and echoes the animal and ecological themes created with the primitive, wild and roughness of the ancient civilization of Lingnan.

The highlight of the building is that the lighting design fully integrates the architectural characteristics, and strives to restore the personality of the building during the day and night, shape the language of the building with lighting, and express the integration of nature and technology with lighting, creating a visual mutation in the warm-toned lighting system. Use the structure of the building to give the building a new story. The space structure of the podium cantilever is closely connected, which symbolizes the close connection between human beings and the animal world, and demonstrates the harmonious coexistence between Chimelong and animals.

10. Outdoor Media Art & Design Facade

Outdoor Media Art & Design Facade

The facade lighting design of the gymnasium should be based on the grand architectural form, using modern exterior lights to combine with the surrounding environmental art, the sports building facade lighting design principle should highlight the functional characteristics of the sports building, combining with the surface color of the building, using different colors of light, Reasonable selection of suitable viewpoints to coordinate with the cultural environment such as buildings and surrounding squares and commerce.

Facade lighting fixtures should work closely with lighting designers, and this commercial landscape lighting design needs to fully consider the impact of light projection direction and fixture installation position on the building and overall artistic effect. The stadium makes clever use of the irregular holes and spaces on the exterior wall of the building. Developed a façade clover-shaped luminous building, installed with linear light card slots and connected to form the outer frame of the building, when the LEDs on the building frame facade are lit, the special design will make the building look self-illuminating A self-illuminating irregular clover that gives life and aura to the building.

Suntech cooperates with architectural lighting designer, lamp wholesaler and external lighting contractors, etc. If you have any facade lighting projects, if you are looking for a one-stop external facade lighting design team, or if you want to buy quality outdoor facade lighting fixtures, please click here or email sales@suntechleds.com  to contact us, don't forget attach a picture of your building, our facade lighting consultants will reply you with suitable solutions within 24 hours.

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