Energy & Resources

The art of perfect lighting

Light is life. Our biological rhythms depend on it, we release hormones upon exposure to light that energise and revitalise us; then as the light fades the decrease in these hormones prepare us for sleep.

A clever use of lighting can invigorate, illuminate, reflect and refresh. It can lift the spirit, create a mood, alter an atmosphere, offer direction and engender positivity. Lighting, if used effectively, can bring to life even the most mundane environment and fill even the unhappiest person with joy.

The brilliance of lighting techniques in design, is that they create the environment you want. When used correctly you not only light the spaces you use but actually influence those who enter that space. Light, like colour, influences a response. This simple fact empowers designers to use lighting schemes for whatever function or purpose they need to fulfill their client’s brief. Unfairly, mood lighting does seem to have a cheesy reputation as a way to ‘set the mood’ in a romantic wa, but that is only one of the many tones of mood that lighting can set.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a school in Surrey, England that implemented a mood lighting scheme that adhered to recent psychological guidelines. The colour of inclassroom lighting was controlled and changed over the length of the school day. The lighting scheme chosen offered four different light settings. In order to stimulate early morning alertness, an intense blue lighting tone was used. Then in the afternoon a red calming tone was used to also stimulate focus. Then, during exam periods, a bright white light was used to promote focus and energy. Remarkably, this lighting solution was noted as it helped modify the behaviour of the students and improve their inclass performances.

Lighting was once considered a “must have” basic function, one that you perhaps only considered changing in order to save on power bills but now it is recognised as a mood changer. Lighting is not used to just illuminate, it is also used to complement artwork, create an atmosphere, add colour, provide the finishing touch to individual design features and to influence guest responses. Therefore, updating your accommodation lighting by consulting a lighting expert has the benefit of cutting your power bills, reducing your carbon footprint and really making a difference to your guest’s experience.

What does the school example mean to us in the accommodation industry? Well there is strong evidence that shows that cleverly constructed lighting influences behaviours and mood! This means that with this simple change you have the power to influence your guest’s experience of your property a revelation in this industry!

A simple lighting scheme along with other designs can be adjusted to meet the needs of whatever environment you intend to create. It is a way to improve your accommodation’s overall look, its use and will greatly enhance your guests’ experiences, improving guest feedback.

With great interior lighting, even an ordinary room can look magnificent, create a fabulous impact and make guests feel welcome. There are three types of lighting that are used to create mood lighting: task, ambient and accent. All three are used in layers of light to create and achieve the desired effect in any space.

Task lighting is used in areas for work or safety, consider stairwells or food service areas or to direct to work areas for computer or reading. This can be achieved with fixtures that focus direct bright light onto the desired area.

Ambient lighting is the softer more comfortable level of light for areas where guests would be able to relax. Accent lighting is used to decorate the room. It creates drama or mood and will draw the guest’s attention to a particular area such as an artwork.

Creating perfect lighting should be seen as an art form, consider the challenges of lighting a typical hotel: a large foyer, smaller spaces, computer stations and public space zones. A combination of the three layers of lighting would be required and a keen eye for detail with a lot of imagination by the designer. Bearing in mind that the foyer will be the point of initial contact from a guest, therefore creating a “wow” impact is essential. For instance, downlights from lowvoltage halogen lamps can accentuate the reception area. The use of brilliant light in the lobby with shielded darklight reflectors can ensure optimum visual comfort. Thus creating an atmosphere that compliments the purpose of a space in a more holistic way.

The clever creation of an interior space requires the choice of the type and colour palettes of light to suit the required atmosphere. Colour palettes can be used to compliment the architecture or in order to fit a certain use. The lighting aesthetics can be designed to actually have influence over those who enter their space. For those in the accommodation industry this is a very exciting prospect. This is real power and influence.

External areas should not be overlooked and lighting external spaces can make a property really stand out in a crowd, even attracting visitors by light. Take the lighting design concept example of the Nordic Light Hotel in Stockholm. This incredible property features a stunning look that literally changes with the seasons. External light scenes diffuse and change with slow and soft transitions, evoking the actual Northern Lights. This, also reflects the relaxation theme of the hotel beautifully and emphasises facilities that include a phototherapeutic treatment system along with a lux light system that reportedly promotes melatonin production, altering mood and promoting sleep. This multistory building is really a magnificent sight to behold and one that could perhaps be emulated.

Creating an atmosphere that compliments the purpose of a space is the most holistic way to fill a design brief. Mood lighting offers this power to designers, a seemingly magical power where they can truly allow nature to transpire throughout your property with the mere flick of a switch!

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