All things to all men
How on earth does a lighting designer decide between creating a scheme suitable for a replica office or a peaceful retreat? They do both, as Emma Morgan discovers.
For many guests, hotels provide a peaceful space where they can relax and take time out for a much needed break. However, for others, their hotel room could be a temporary office away from home, or somewhere to collapse for a few hours between high-pressure business meetings.
So pity the poor lighting designer who has to create schemes that will work for everyone – no matter what they want from the room. Lighting design is of the upmost importance for creating atmosphere and style, and is also used for decorative purposes – adding a much-needed extra layer to what is often a bland space.
Like many areas, the hotel sector has jumped on the LED bandwagon realising the benefits the source has to offer. Hotels have a very real need for 24-hour lighting in areas such as corridors and reception desks, and LEDs offer hugely appealing prospects – energy savings, long lifespan, low power consumption and high CRI – all attractive elements to hotel managers and owners.
Hoteliers must ensure visitors feel welcome from the outset by presenting an attractive exterior – an area often forgotten. In many areas, particularly where the demand is growing for both tourist and business class accommodation, competition is fierce and the outside of the building can make – or break – the deal for customers who have a choice of where to stay.
The United Arab Emirates has, over the past decade produced some of the best hotels in the world. Abu Dhabi is rivalling Dubai for luxury. The YAS Hotel (the one with a Formula 1 circuit built around it!) is the biggest LED project to date – all controlled through RDM protocol using an advanced lighting control solution provided by e:cue lighting control.
The main attraction is the two-part shell with curving lines covered with more than 5,300 diamond-shaped steel panels and containing almost 5000 RGBW LED fixtures. The shell has programmed lighting sequences that work to fuse its two sections, which span both the racing circuit and adjacent marina.
Jan Julius Miebach, e:cue managing director of product strategy and projects, explains: ‘It is a highly sophisticated system with 32 Butler XT controllers providing bidirectional communication between the LED lighting on the shell and the control server to monitor the status of the LEDs.’
The harsh desert climate is particularly tough on any type of light source. To avoid damage from the intense 60-degree summer heat, real time adjustment of the LEDs intensity, based on the status and temperature of fixtures was crucial to the success of the project.
Miebach adds: ‘The system sends status reports to building management and automatically adjusts the intensity of the LEDs to prevent overheating. Using Traxon e:cue lighting control, each of the 5,000 LEDs can be individually controlled showing that the future of lighting has arrived. The effect is an outstanding architectural lighting feature that makes the hotel stand out in the dark night sky.’
Hotel managers have to cater for a constant stream of guests, and must take into the consideration the psychological impact of artificial lighting on visitors. During the day, the interior design and furnishings take centre stage but at night a well lit hotel can offer a further dimension, providing a relaxing and safe atmosphere for its guests with the use of artificial light.
The reception area has to provide a warm, welcoming atmosphere as soon as guests enter the hotel. The lighting must not only be attractive and impressive, but should harmonize with the interior decor in order to communicate the level of service and standard of the hotel.
Andrea Hartley, interior designer at Andy Thornton Lighting explains the need to create the correct ambience: ‘Flexible lighting options are vital for any hotel as it’s important to be able to create different moods for the various functions of each room, and for the public areas. Bedrooms often feature various types of lighting, including standard lamps, table lamps and the always popular reading lights.
‘The use of LEDs in hotel bedrooms is increasingly popular; they can be used around headboards, and in cornices and architraves to give a continuous band of light, and a contemporary feel to the room. It’s desirable to be able to switch off a main light, to have softer, more relaxed lighting, especially in the evenings.’
Andy Thornton has recently contributed to the refurbishment of the Seraphine Hotel, London. A large number of ‘disco zen’ circular fabric pendants were supplied for the reception and hotel restaurant. The fixtures are 600mm in diameter and feature red cotton shades with chrome and wenge wood hangers and a light diffuser. Further pendants were supplied to the bedrooms to support soft furnishings specifications for each floor.
Hartley continues: ‘Lighting in hotel restaurants is particularly important – venues need to be able to vary levels of lighting according to the time of day. Most restaurants will want relatively bright lighting in the day for breakfast and lunchtime seating, with a more subdued atmospheric feel in the evening. Feature pendants over booths are always popular.’
A bespoke lighting scheme has been created for guest bedrooms at Hilton The Hague, in The Netherlands. The design comprises turned wooden pendants at either side of the bed which allow better use of space, turned wooden lacquered floor standards to match, and a slim desk lamp specifically created to be used with laptops.
The lighting designer went to great lengths to take into account guest requirements, such as understanding the need for desk lighting by business travellers.
The desk lamp was manufactured specifically for the project and is now part of the Chelsom collection. The lamp features a rotating head for optimum light direction and won a design award. Chelsom received first prize in the hotel design ‘Product Innovation Awards’ at Sleep 2010, beating competition from international brands, such as Dyson and Grohe.
During a recent refurbishment programme, The Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, Cote d’Azur has undergone a complete re-design of its lighting schemes for the bedrooms, public areas and spa.
The design, created by Lighting Design International (LDI), features classic styling, adding to the sense of glamour the hotel is renowned for, and pleasing the traditional clientele.
Sally Storey, design director of Lighting Design International says: ‘Our scheme for the refurbished Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat is a good example of how the latest LED technologies and controls have been used in this traditional setting to produce a scheme that is complementary to the classic, chic environment created by Pierre-Yves Rochon (interior designer for the hotel).’
The concept behind the design was to highlight classical features. In the reception area, door architraves were fitted with 4W LED uplighting sources, ensuring the fittings stay cool to the touch, a problem that occurs when using halogen fittings in a similar role.
The use of colour was a major feature of the scheme. Cool whites were used in the reception area, while the tea lounge glows with warm soft light, in order to welcome guests. The colour changes continue through to the conservatory and bar by employing modern technology within the traditional environment. This technology also allows fixtures to be miniaturised and concealed in addition to minimizing power consumption and heat output.
Spas should be one of the most relaxing spaces within a hotel setting, with lighting design being a key ingredient in creating the right atmosphere. To achieve a tranquil environment at the Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, LDI made the most of an underground passage that leads to the spa, lighting it almost entirely with 1W LED uplights. The fittings provided shafts of light to the wall and the shallow ramp, which is lit at low level.
The general lighting in the spa comes from two different LED sources concealed within circular coffers. The different sources provide a white crisp light as well as a softer yellow glow, which is similar to candlelight and gives the illusion of warmth. The circular ceiling features are of varying size and are scattered throughout the space, creating an impression of bubbles. The treatment area has a fully controlled lighting scheme, allowing for a range of moods and tones to be created, in order to complement individual treatments.
Storey adds: ‘The spa sets a new standard of design, and LDI is delighted to have played its part in that achievement.’
It appears that as lighting technology advances, hotel owners and managers are finding greater ways to benefit guests, creating the perfect ambience while retaining the character and traditions of the hotel itself.
Osram: 01753 484100 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01753 484100 end_of_the_skype_highlighting www.osram.co.uk
Andy Thornton Lighting: 01422 376000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01422 376000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting www.andythornton.com
Chelsom: 01253 831400 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01253 831400 end_of_the_skype_highlighting www.chelsom.co.uk
LDI: 020 8600 5777 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 020 8600 5777 end_of_the_skype_highlighting www.lightingdesigninternational.com