Creating the visual experience
Shanghai, 20th January 2010
Over the last two days I have been attending a design workshop with the interior designer as a kick off to a new hotel project. As can be expected a lot of the discussion at this early stage revolves around space planning and (as the interior designer likes to call it) the actual sensory experience that guests can experience when entering the hotel and using its facilities. While we as lighting designers generally have not yet been involved in the overall design concept at this stage, it is important to understand the design intent and proposed moods as early as possible so we can develop the lighting concept in support. The workshop serves to present the concept and allow specialist consultants like ourselves to provide suggestions and ideas to make the concept work.
But it takes quite some experience to be able to provide relevant and meaningful input. It requires the lighting designer to understand the spatial qualities, proportions and most of all the material finishes and the resulting visual environment that lighting in the space would create.
We of course are concerned with the visual experience and its resulting effect on the mood, the feeling of the guest and the overall quality of the experience. Lighting can make or break this overall experience. Hence what to light (or not), balance of brightness, architectural rhythm, colour and general quality of the light, the visual enhancement of architectural features and artwork together with its lighting controls are obvious lighting design issues to consider. Not to forget the smooth integration of day and night time experience!
Understanding the original design concept of the overall visual experience is a major part of the foundation for a successful end result. And if it is not present in the concept we have to make sure it gets there!