Lighting : Lighting December 2014 - Vol 34 Issue 6
62 LIGHTING MAGAZINE | December 2014/January 2015 December 2014/January 2015 | LIGHTING MAGAZINE 63 Striking a balance between accent and ambient lighting is crucial; accent lighting must be adequate for task functions but it also needs to be restrained enough that it doesn’t encroach on the feature lighting that tells visitors an implicit story of the space that they’re in. Achieving warm colour temperatures should be cinch for experienced lighting designers, but the precipitous expansion of the LED market means that many designers are still getting a handle on the intricacies – and challenges – inherent in the technology. means that many designers are still getting a handle on the intricacies – and challenges – inherent in the technology. Issues with dimming are particularly problematic for hospitality projects, which rely on mood lighting and ambience to entice customers in. “Typically, the colour temperature is not an issue – you can get LEDs at 2400, 2500, 3000 or whatever – you can get the colour temperature you want. But the colour temperature doesn’t shift,” Elliott says. “With halogen, you start at 3000K, and when you dim down to 1 per cent, it’s 1400 or 1800K, like candle light. But with LED, you start at 3000K and you dim it down – it stays at 3000K; it just gets dull. It gets darker, it doesn’t get warmer,” he says. It’s an issue that manufacturers have been working to address, and Elliott says he has seen notable improvements within the last 12 months, particularly in the development of LEDs that mix different colour temperature chips within the same fixture. “So they might have nine LEDs in each fitting – three at 2200, three at 2700, three at 3000, and as you dim down, the cooler ones dim first and then you’re left with the warmer ones, so it follows that halogen dimming curve,” he says. Referred to as ‘warm dim’ technology, this approach is now enabling LEDs to be used to create night-time ambience. While it’s a step in the right direction, there is still a way to go – the technology still struggles to achieve dimming levels at the very bottom of the scale, which impacts the ability of lighting designers to achieve the sort of ambience they’re seeking. “With halogen, you can dim from zero per cent upwards. Sometimes with LED, it will turn off at 15 per cent. That’s where the subtlety is, when you get down to the bottom end of the dimming – in a hospitality space, that’s when the real magic happens,” Elliott adds. “If you can’t get it all the way down to zero per cent, you’re losing the ability to affect that critical part of the day in hospitality, which is late night.” Colour is one thing, but shading and contrast is also an important component of hospitality lighting. Striking a balance between accent and ambient lighting is crucial; accent lighting must be adequate for task functions but it also needs to be restrained enough that it doesn’t encroach on the feature lighting that tells visitors an implicit story of the space that they’re in. “The balance between the ambient lighting and the task lighting, or the accent lighting, is what creates mood. It ’s contrast and it’s light and shade,” Elliott says. “When a space is accented, it has peaks and troughs. It’s kind of like your heartbeat; it beats faster, it’s up and down – that’s when you’re excited. And the same really applies when you get hotspots and low spots in lighting. That’s what drives the ambience.” Elliott and his team recently completed the lighting plan for Canberra’s Hotel Hotel, an unusual project that took the concept of ambience and pushed it to the edge. The client had requested a moody space that Elliott says bordered on being almost too dark, requiring the design team to walk a very fine line (“there’ll be people who go to that hotel who think it’s not right, and there’ll be people who go to that hotel and think it’s just amazing”). A heavy emphasis on accent lighting coupled with the use of incandescent light sources in decorative fixtures resulted in an elegant, shadowy and ultimately unique hospitality space. “I think the success of it really came down to the materials that they used – a lot of warm timber material, so the quality of the light really bouncing off those surfaces made the ambience,” Elliott says. It’s projects like these that make hospitality lighting design so interesting – the challenge of taking well-known design practices applying them in ways that deliver wholly unique spaces. Elliott describes the customer experience of hospitality lighting as a ‘visual journey’ that has been laid out for them by invisible hands. “When we start a lighting scheme, we ask, how do we want people to be drawn through the space? What’s the destination, what are they going to be doing when they get there, and what do we want them to experience on their journey?” Warmth and vibrancy encourages diners to linger at the QT Hotel Restaurant in Sydney and the Tori No Su Restaurant in Abu Dhabi. QT lighting by PointOfView, interior design by Nic Graham Associates. Photograph by Eszter and David. Tori No Su lighting by PointOfView, interior design by DBI. Photograph courtesy of DBI.
Lighting October 2014 - Vol 34 Issue 5
Lighting February 2015 - Vol 35 Issue 1