Essentially, this was a technical assignment to show you understand the difference between hard and soft lighting. It was also an opportunity for you to see this difference first hand and to have lighting intensity as your primary focus.
You’ve chosen to shoot the same environment under two different lighting scenarios. The first image is slightly more dull while the second image has much brighter “hot spots”.
If you had the ability to control the light in this environment then I would have suggested that you use less “fronty” lighting. The object in front of you is full of texture which could have been brought out with nice side lighting. Front lighting virtually eliminates any sense of texture since it doesn’t’ cast as noticeable of shadows. It’s the safest type of lighting, but it also lacks mood. If you want your images to be slightly moodier or more textures, then experiment with placing your lights at a 45 degree angle in front of your subject (just off to the side). For even moodier effects, move your lighting towards the side of the subject.
I like what you’ve done with this abstract, close up photograph, but I think you could have enhanced it even further by experimenting with the direction of your lighting.
If you did use side lighting it’s important to note, that hard lighting would have created sharp shadows, while softer lighting would have created shadows with less sharp edges. The more you diffused your lighting, the softer the edges of the shadow become.