Monday, November 19, 2012

Ambiance and Archaeology

If the nicer restaurants are all dark, then maybe the nicer ancient Roman villas were too. In this archaeological study, scientists created a simulation of an ancient Roman villa and turned down the lights -- more specifically, they put in lights that would flicker with warmth like candles rather than reflect cold blue like electric lights. Check out the result above. Wouldn't you rather live in the house on the left? Everything looks nicer by candlelight, including the tilework and mosaics.

This reminds me of a nighttime tour of the abbey on Mt. St. Michel I took about a decade ago. In the dark it was lit with brightly colored floodlights but the shadows definitely left more to the imagination and made the experience unforgettable. The type of light is important. Looks like the Romans designed for candlelight and didn't anticipate fluorescent bulbs!

Also, this reminds me of what I read about what it must have been like to enter the Jewish tabernacle in the time of the Judges. It would be dark and mysterious and very impressive. Much more like the picture on the left than the one on the right.

And, at home, why clean up after the kids when you can just turn down the lights?

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