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Light

OPINION: Designing hotel lighting with a different perspective

1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

To launch our Spotlight On Guestroom Lighting, Recommended Supplier Chelsom shares its knowledge on what designers should consider when lighting the hotel guestroom… 

Designing good lighting for hotels is about more than creating stylish products that are on trend and look the part. It’s about top quality products that provide efficient lighting and enhance the guest experience, whether through multifunctional guestroom lighting or bold public area statement pieces.

Lighting really does make or break the traveller’s hotel experience, something which is illustrated by recent extensive research suggesting that of 10,000 recent hotel reviews in London most guests complained about the dim, bad and sparse lighting in their rooms. Accordingly when we design either our standard lighting collection or bespoke pieces, we do so from multiple perspectives; from that of the hotelier, the interior designer and above all else the guest.

Aesthetics

The first thing to consider is the aesthetic of the product, does it look the part and fit in with the overall design concept? Interior designers are pushing the boundaries more than ever before, always looking to create unique interior schemes for hotels that offer something different and inevitably lighting is an essential part of that. We are often asked whether table or floor lamps can make a difference in a guestroom. They most certainly can by adding ambient lighting and creating atmosphere in what has become an increasingly multifunctional space.

Following the latest industry trends and ultimately trying to pre-empt them is a critical part of the design process. Nobody wants to specify outdated products so we try to recognise emerging trends as early as possible and use them to inspire our collection. Indeed we always want to lead the market working closely as we do with some of the world’s top hospitality interior design practices.

 “We have helped several hotel chains to create their brand standard light levels following guestroom lux level surveys carried out by our technicians.”

 Let there be (enough) light

Lighting is more than just about creating the ‘wow factor’ and needs to rank higher up the designer’s list of priorities. One of the biggest complaints to concierges is that guestrooms are insufficiently lit to work, put make up on or to simply see so it’s our job as lighting specialists to work with the designers and hoteliers to light guestrooms and public areas successfully. We have helped several hotel chains to create their brand standard light levels following guestroom lux level surveys carried out by our technicians. A hotel room is no longer just a room to sleep in, it has become multifunctional, a place to eat, sleep, work and relax and the lighting scheme needs to reflect the variety of uses and generate the correct light levels to meet all those functions.

Quality and functionality

As hoteliers expect stylish design and quality whilst working to a tighter budget, it should be a given that both are essential for contract use. Products need to be designed to withstand frequent and often forceful handling because those of domestic quality aren’t going to last 2 minutes in the hotel environment. We need to provide clients with products that reflect the highest standards of engineering and finish at the right blend of price and quality. Guests want hotels to feel like a luxurious home away from home and they want their hotel lighting in particular to reflect this, to be stylish yet functional. For example, most guests have dimming functionality at home and expect it in hotels, but they want it to be clearly visible on the product and most of all usable. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard stories of the concierge being called up to the room to explain how to dim the lights, illustrating there needs to be a distinct balance between design and functionality. Our latest colour coordinated push and toggle switches provide the guest with clear switching options. The Dock range of bedside reading lights give the option of a push switch or a neat ‘docking switch’ when the LED directional head is recessed away.

Efficiency

Blending cutting edge style with the latest technological developments is becoming more important than ever and we constantly need to ask ourselves whether we can make the lighting experience better for the hotelier by saving money on running and maintenance costs. LEDs are now an essential light source in many hospitality spaces as sustainability moves to the forefront of the minds of developers and designers. Whilst they don’t answer every possible lighting requirement, the option of LEDs has offered increased design possibilities when integrating this technology into our fittings for future energy saving. Whilst I still believe sustainability is at the top of most people’s list along with design and price, it is important to recognise the need to go green as the wave of the future. It’s imperative that lighting companies are moving with the times and demonstrating commitment to taking sustainability seriously.  That is why we have made every product in our latest collection available with an LED light source.

Budget

Creating bespoke product for clients is becoming increasingly more common and is a large part of what we do so it’s important that we have the necessary budget guidance. We can make a desk lamp from £29 to upwards of £299 and both will illuminate the desk and be of contract quality but it’s the combination of design, detail and light source that ultimately define the price level. For us budget level doesn’t mean chopping quality, it means being flexible and clever in manufacturing to give the same general look whilst hitting lower priced targets. Conversely we love introducing the highest levels of design, quality and materials when working with the most prestigious designers and the world’s leading hotels. 

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