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Hospitality Lighting Design Services

Jan 22, 2008
In the ancient world, Hospitality was not only an experience, but also a sacred law that no one in the world dared break without the severest penalties imaginable. Although our world today is very different, it nevertheless remembers that the word "hospitality" speaks of humanity at its finest, most civilized, and most compassionate levels of consciousness.

Because of this, today's hospitality industry reflects this same sophistication, enlightenment, and in many ways, the best of antiquity. At the same time, it adds to the past by also providing the safest, most comforting settings for vacation, fine dining, eclectic entertainment, and quiet retreat all rolled into one red carpet of refinement, illumination, and excursion.

Lighting is crucial to hospitality both as an industry and an experience. Designing a lighting system for any location requires first an understanding of its many elements, and, secondly, planning and developing a lighting system that will establish and elevate the essence of place, time, and action.

Hospitality lighting begins with architectural and landscape lighting that make the resort area clearly visible and distinguished as an area of unique excursion and experience.

Unconsciously, almost every human being in the world loves Nature and its beauty, so significant importance should be placed upon the magnification of natural elements as keynotes to the entire experience of vacation, entertainment, celebration, and, most importantly, piece of mind.

Trees with lights can figure prominently in outdoor hospitality lighting, providing both boundaries for the property and special points of interest. A few companies like Illuminations Lighting and Design even take special care to use "green" equipment that is environmentally friendly, and they use proprietary installation methods that do not harm the trees in any way.

The emphasis on Nature can then be carried all the way from the tree line to the building by accentuating walkways, waterways, and outdoor sculptures to blend the manmade with the natural. Specialty fixtures installed in low-profile positions on buildings can emphasize architecture with what appears to be sourceless lighting. When done correctly, buildings appear to rise up out of the earth as part of the natural landscape.

This distinguishes a resort, hotel, or country club from the typical appearance of the surrounding urban landscape and adds something of an "Edenic" touch to the location.

The human element of hospitality begins in the lobby. The lighting here must focus on detail as much as it does grand design. The lobby area is definitely a place where hospitality lighting designers have to be almost mathematical in establishing points of expression, areas of task, and moods of decorum that both differentiate and unite into an aesthetic of welcome. The lobby must be brightly lit with minimal reflective glare, so it is necessary to use very sophisticated and proprietary lighting fixtures to illuminate certain key elements as ornate antique furniture, display cases, bookshelves, and especially fine art lighting for works of art and statuary.

Hospitality lighting specialists must also pay close attention to the practical demands of booking guests and customer service. Illumination in these areas should create an upbeat atmosphere of activity accomplished through soft, direct surface lighting and stronger, low voltage recessed lighting from above that "washes" surfaces in light without blinding the eyes. All desk areas and corridors leading to and from the lobby area should be lit by multiple desk, wall, or suspended luminaries that eliminate pockets of shadow and glare by striking surfaces from multiple angles of lighting incidence.

Hallways and corridors are very important elements of a luxury hotel. They connect the lobby to guest rooms, boardrooms, recreational facilities, restaurants, meeting areas, ballrooms, and nightclubs. Corridor lights need to remain on at all times for the sake of safety and clear passage. They must be more than task lights, however, in order to blend decoratively with carpet, wall art, interior designs, and overall resort theme.

The key to achieving this is to employ multiple layers of indoor lighting to accommodate both action and frame of mind. Chandeliers provide excellent overhead lights that can be adjusted with lighting control systems and automation control timers to vary the lighting slightly. This allows event planners and hosts to set different moods for different times of day or night.

Functional light may come from wall sconces that light floor space evenly, and a variety of sconce fixtures can be utilized to match the lighting equipment itself to hospitality interior design elements. Energy savings can be created with low voltage fixtures, dimmer controls, and new LED lighting technologies that can make corridor lighting not only a function of level, but also add an element of color.

When guests or clients arrive in their rooms they absolutely must feel a sense of total privacy and safe, isolated comfort. Even when they are away from home, people prefer to stay in suites that give them a feeling of home and sanctuary. Lighting here should compliment the interior design and contribute to the experience of convenience and comfort.

Hospitality lighting in hotels, formal banquet halls, and ballrooms requires a combination of bright lights that can be dimmed when necessary. It also requires selective use of decorative fixtures such as chandelier candelabras, decorative wall lights, and any number of specialty lights appropriate to the nature and size of the facility. These fixtures should require little lighting maintenance and provide years of service.

Dining and Meeting room lighting calls for a high level of affect lighting to create atmosphere. Dining areas tend to need a great deal of low ambient lighting. Meeting rooms and business offices often require exceptionally bright lights for motivation and presentation, but they also require lighting controls to lower lighting levels for any audio/visual segments of an event.

When selecting a vendor, look for one that takes a partnership/consultative approach to design planning and sales. Hospitality lighting systems are complex and require good listening skills on the part of the vendor to put your vision into light. Also, make certain the vendor you choose uses only commercial grade equipment rated at the very highest ratings of excellence. Companies such as ILD in Texas often cross-train hospitality lighting designers in parallel industries such as architecture, landscaping, interior decorating, and electrical contracting in order to ensure congruence between lighting equipment and design strategies from other disciplines.

Working with any such firm that brings more than one specialty table often results in a more holistic outcome sensitive not only to the requirements of illumination, but also to the work of other professionals that work together to make an establishment truly one of a kind.
About the Author
Illuminations Lighting and Design offers nationwide hospitality lighting design services throughout the United States. For more info visit http://www.illuminationslighting.com/hospitality_lighting_design.htm and http://www.illuminationslighting.com
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