Not so many moons ago, lighting was often the last item on an interior rejig list. In fact, it was such an afterthought that sometimes there wasn’t even budget for a lighting update, and hospitality projects had to make do with whatever was left over from their former incarnation, perhaps with a shade refresh if you were lucky. We refer to this period of design as ‘the dark ages’-
Thankfully we know better these days, and lighting design takes centre stage in many design schemes now. Think of every luxury hotel you’ve set foot in in the last 10 years – what’s the first thing you notice in the lobby? With the exception of exotic floral displays, it’s most likely an oversized chandelier or ensemble of twinkling feature lighting that’s caught your eye. Actually, you’d be hard pressed to notice all the other things going on (exotic flowers included), if the lighting was rubbish – or worse still, if there was no lighting at all.
Lighting is a necessity, yes, but its function goes far beyond need. Lighting can tell us how to feel about a space, it can lead a path to an area or point of interest – or of importance. Lighting can make us feel warm, or cold, it can section an area or be a practical tool behind a mirror, or by our bedsides.
With advancements in technology, lighting has been enhanced beyond the humble dimmer switch and can now incorporate voice activation, circadian rhythm, and a host of entertainment options should you want a colourful light display to match the drama of X Factor repeats on a Tuesday night. And while the possibilities are endless, it’s probably better not to ask, ‘Could I?’, but more, ‘Should I?’.
If I’ve learned anything during my time writing about design in the hospitality sector (also applicable to life in general), it’s that if you are not an expert in a particular area of design or manufacture, you should probably talk to someone who is – rather than bulldozing your way through with misplaced confidence. Which is why we’ve put together this fabulous lighting supplement for you, to give you a little insight – perhaps even some inspiration – from our lighting experts, who between them know everything there is to know about lights and lighting design for hospitality.