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Q+A: Wave Makers

(July / August 2017) posted on Fri Jul 28, 2017

Three top-tier lighting designers offer illuminating insights into how they help switch on memorable hospitality environments.

By Matthew Hall

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RAINS: It’s best for us to be brought in during the concept stage. Usually the architectural and interior design teams have already advanced their own concepts and done the space planning/initial layouts. We tend to comment on their ideas. Then, we take it further and create our own lighting design concept package with 3D sketches and break down the different lighting ideas for a space. Often, we will present several options and develop the chosen ideas further.

Beauty & Essex
Focus Lighting created a brightly illuminated entry to Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas. Behind that attention-grabbing first impression is a more subtly lit luxury restaurant. Photo: Warren Jagger

ANDERSEN: The lighting designer should be brought in at the beginning, while the team is still discussing the emotion someone should feel inside of the space. Why? Because it’s the lighting designer’s responsibility to inform the owner, architect and interior designer what they will see, and to address such issues as what light is going to be reflected from which surfaces and back into the eyes of those in the space. The lighting designer is the curator of the visual image.

WADHWA: To create the most integrated and seamless lighting design into the fabric of the architectural intent and the hotel operators’ requirements, the lighting designer must be brought in during the concept/schematic phase of the project. This is the time we can work with the client and architect most effectively; it helps us define how the project can be sculpted by light.

In the lobby of Sky, a high-end residential tower in New York, Focus eschewed general downlighting in favor of accenting sculptural furniture and art with recessed LEDs. A stunning chandelier anchors the space. Photo: Ryan Fischer

Though LEDs have been on the scene for some time now, the respondents all say ongoing improvements in that energy-efficient illumination source continue to make it the most noteworthy addition to their tool kit.

ANDERSEN: The warmth of incandescent light has always been crucial in hospitality settings, and most especially restaurants—it impacts the way light renders people’s faces and food. Recent developments in warm-dim technology for LEDs are creating more affordable opportunities to use that technology to produce a very similar quality of light.

Brett Andersen
Brett Andersen. Photo: Ryan Fischer

WADHWA: LED technology is still evolving at a furious pace. Improvements in LED chip efficacy and an increasing number of manufacturers in the market are driving down the prices of LED fixtures.

RAINS: I’m a big fan of tunable white LED technologies, which mimic halogen/incandescent dimming. This is especially useful in rooms with daylight, where “cooler” lighting temperatures look better in daytime and can get gradually “warmer” as night falls.


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