Singapore 16th April 2013
Lighting designers tend to focus mainly on lighting effects, but one of the most crucial elements of any lighting design is the ease of operation, switches and controls, manual or programmed. In one of our projects we are currently working on developing a control system that has the sophistication of a programmable dimming system, but the simplicity of just a conventional wall switch. Seems contradictory but it is not really. What you see is the physical switch, what you don’t see is the computerised logic behind it. We are looking for something that just looks like a common switch, with a very obvious function that does not make the guest wonder what the switch is for or what it can or is supposed to do. A switch function that is self-explanatory.
Too often I find lighting controls in upscale hotel rooms a complete failure, totally illogical or ill programmed; either over designed, over sophisticated, inflexible and most of all not doing what you want it to do or what it should do. I am sure many of you have similar experiences. So putting some extra attention in the simplification of controls is worth the time certainly as we are developing this together with the operator. I know that there are always people who like electronic gadgets, but really most of us when we arrive at our hotel after a long day’s work, we don’t want to spent half an hour figuring out how the lighting control system works. The amount of times I spent every time in a new hotel figuring out the controls system…
Anecdotally a few years back I had arrived in luxury hotel in Seoul, Korea, to find no switches at all! The lights went on automatically by inserting my key-card on entering the room, but once in the room (it was actually a suite) I couldn’t find any switch at all! It was only after I read the in room service manual that I realised that all services (lights included) were controllable through the interactive TV system! In other words I had to switch on the TV and use the remote control to navigate to the lighting control screen and then select whatever lighting I wanted…OK when you are a bit IT savvy, but really is that the way?
Light Watch 4-66: The Milan Fair 2013 closed its doors last Sunday, here are the best lighting picks from Share Design; inspirations from Flos, Artemide, Luceplan, Foscarini, Patrick Hartogh and Lensvelt.