Telling Stories with Lighting Design
By Christina Hart Senior Principal / Director of Hospitality Interiors, HOK New York | November 13, 2016
Lighting remains firmly entrenched as a dynamic, versatile and often untapped interior design element. Both functional and abstract, lighting can transform a hotel, spa, dining outlet, lounge or lobby and help articulate and even tell a brand's local story. By creating drama and intrigue, lighting can be used to solidify an emotion, forge a meaningful tie and formalize a sense of place.
HOK's Hospitality practice has used lighting as a creative, abstract feature on major global projects for decades. We design lighting solutions that help express our hospitality clients' brands and aspirations while always respecting the property's regional nuances. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, our sustainable lighting design solutions help conserve energy while protecting our clients' budgets.
A project on the boards today is Riyadh's Al Faisaliah Hotel, originally designed by Lord Norman Foster and currently being re-imagined through a complete renovation. Already an elegantly modern and coveted destination in one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, the hotel needed a major renewal to convey excitement and broaden its mystique to new and repeat visitors.
The design for the renovation seeks to inspire guests by creating a high contrast of light and shadow as a core concept for local storytelling. Set back from the main street, the complex is an urban oasis with a palm tree-lined drive that frames the front of the main tower, with hotel and serviced apartment wings bordering each side.
The light in this part of the world is strong and the tale of black and white is quite expressive. In the central atrium, our design team created a highly-customized, 19-foot-high abstract light sculpture that welcomes and orients guests to the space. It also propels guests directly into a play of cascading geometric patterns, inspired by those found in mosques. This lighting effect assists the property in creating a local story through the passage of time that is unique and ever-changing, depending on the year, season or time of day. The goal is for guests to feel as if they have been wandering through the desert and encountered a bright spot on the horizon, an incredible oasis.