Seven ways light can create a warmer welcome

How does the leisure and hospitality industry encourage customers to spend their hard-earned cash in a particular pub, club or restaurant? A huge amount of time and money is invested in creating just the right ambience and it goes without saying that lighting has a major role to play.

And yet lighting is often neglected or added as an afterthought when it should be central to the design. The fact is, a good-looking room can be turned into a great looking room – and reduce energy consumption and maintenance.

Here are seven important points to follow to make sure your public rooms attract customers and keep them coming back.

 

1  Colour temperature
The colour of lighting has a big influence on our feelings and actions. Very warm tones of white, firelight or tungsten lamps, have a colour temperature of between 2200 and 2700K, which has a calming, restful influence on us. As colour temperature rises towards 4000K the white light has a cooler appearance and we become more alert. This white is favoured in northern European offices. Daylight varies throughout the seasons and is affected by sun or cloud presence and orientation, with colour temperatures from 6500K, and from 9000K for north light.

There is a connection between colour temperature and illumination levels (lux) in the Kruithof curve. This scientific research has established a band of values of colour temperature, illumination and lux levels that are comfortable and pleasing. Many installations are now being fitted with LED light sources with a colour temperature of about 5000K, resulting in low illumination and a bluish, cold lighting effect.

 

 

Vertical illumination makes a space more welcoming

2  Colour rendering
Colour rendering is the quality of light and the way in which colours are represented to our eye. It is measured as colour-rendering index (CRI), with daylight producing perfect colour presentation and a CRI of 100.Excellent colour rendering for good colour matching is 90, and good colour rendering for office and retail spaces is 80 or above. Below these values, colours can look washed out or unnatural. Cheap and poor quality LEDs can have a CRI as low as 60. At these levels the human face can appear sickly – not good at all in a hospitality setting.

 

3  Low-glare baffles
Baffles conceal the illumination source. If the light source is visible, this will cause glare when you are trying to illuminate a space. By concealing the light source behind a reflector or recessing it in the body above a baffle, a room can be effectively illuminated without uncomfortable glare.

 

4  Illumination of vertical surfaces
As we walk around, our initial observations tend to be at eye level, so our first impression of a space is often the treatment of the vertical surface. A space can be made to appear welcoming and interesting by illumination of the perimeter walls or by highlighting a textured surface.

 

5  Lighting scenes
Providing alternative lighting scenes influences the way we feel about the space we are in. Considering what the room will be used for will help you determine the most suitable illumination level, the architectural and decorative features will suggest lighting effects, and layers of light can be used to build a lighting scene relevant to the time of day or activity. A number of different scenes allows flexible use of the space and maximises potential revenue.

"Lighting is often neglected or added as an after-thought when it should be central to the design"

6  Automation
Recalling the best lighting scene for a space at a pre-determined time ensures the room looks its best, and you don’t have to worry about staff forgetting to make changes (or remembering to make changes, when you don’t want them to). Lighting can easily be automated to fade from one scene to another over a period of minutes, achieving a subtle and calming change. At the other extreme, colour-changing sequences can be programmed to create a vibrant dynamic scene. Manual overrides can also be accommodated for extraordinary events or the reassurance of being able to turn off all the lights at closing time with the touch of one button.

 

7  Energy efficiency
There has been huge interest in efficiency over recent years in a bid to reduce our environmental impact. The cost of energy is a significant item in the profit and loss accounts. Simple, base retrofit solutions can quickly reduce energy consumption. But make sure you get good quality products – cheap LEDs are tempting, but if they don’t perform, you may face  unscheduled replacements further down the line, or worse: the decline in light quality may prompt your customers tomove on to more comfortable and pleasing establishments – even if they can’t describe why they were better. Giant energy reductions can be achieved without compromising colour temperature, colour rendering, glare control and dimming. Lighting designers have a passion for the creative process and delight in delivering enhanced architectural spaces. The benefits are there to be enjoyed and to create wealth for the leisure and hospitality industry.

 

Ralph Peake is managing director of Professional Lighting Design, based on the Isle of Man. The team won a Lux Award last year for the lighting of Jubilee Buildings in Douglas