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Lighting for Hospitality: ThinkLight Webinar with Messe Frankfurt Middle East

Scientechnic Lighting Solutions collaborated with Messe Frankfurt Middle East for yet another enthralling webinar on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.

The webinar was an interactive discussion on ‘Lighting for Hospitality’, and featured key names from the industry including Ahmed Saliem (Projects Director at Nulty+), Diane Thorsen (Design Director at Gensler), Siddharth Mathur (Partner at Studio Lumen), Courtney Mark (Design Director & Founder at Studio Mark) and our very own Samer Moukalled (Vice President at Scientechnic Lighting Solutions).

The webinar was moderated by Oliviero Rodrigues (Business Development Director at Osram), and started off with a brief introduction on the current trends in the Hospitality business, and how each of these are correlated with lighting requirements.

The 4 key Hospitality trends listed by Diane Thorsen were Eco Tourism, Wellness, Art & Culture, and Bleisure.

The rise of Eco Tourism has seen travelers rediscovering the great outdoors and nature at its best. This has increased the need for holistic landscape and architectural lighting which is an art and science in its own right. As Courtney Mark pointed out, “It’s not about lighting every palm tree.” Oftentimes, light pollution needs to be taken into account as well as the fragile ecosystems surrounding a given resort. An example given was the Chedi in Oman that is located on a turtle nesting site. This required the lighting of the resort to be significantly warmer to ensure the delicate breeding patterns of the turtle population was not disturbed.

Wellness is the second noted rising trend in the Hospitality trade. A whopping 40% of travelers go on health-focused retreats. Given the current pandemic, overall safety and consumer trust is paramount. Trust can be built with good lighting design that accentuates the overall guest experience. Good lighting adapts to the different times of day as well as the unique areas of a hotel (the lobby and check-in area, the room for both work and rest, the exploration areas and F&B). The panelists agreed that there’s more to it than the ever-popular buzzword ‘Circadian Rhythm’.

Art & Culture have always been a major part of the Hospitality business, and the advancements in technology and lighting controls have made way for the digital experience. This has allowed for the creation of a destination within a destination allowing for art to be embraced in new, unconventional ways and also encouraging local residents to rediscover the space.

The advent of the pandemic has further highlighted the Bleisure (business meets pleasure) sector. The 'work from home’ culture is here to stay, and is extending into hotel rooms. This therefore requires room lighting to be flexible enough to convert from work to rest. Additional work zones can be incorporated into lobby spaces and makeshift conference rooms with 

the right kind of lighting.

Ahmed Saliem noted that “lighting is always the unsung hero”. As lighting is not a physical object like the actual furnishings, it often tends to get value engineered.

As a leading interior designer with over 20 years of experience Diane Thorsen noted that “if the lighting is not correct in a lot of these experiential spaces, our jobs are actually wasted.” The color hues of a chosen sofa will look washed out, that appetizing steak will look bleak and unappetizing. Diane goes on to say that an interior designer does not have the technical know-how of a lighting designer, and compensating on this cost puts the entire project at risk.

The discussion went on to cover the importance of the mockup stage. As a complete lighting solutions provider, Samer Moukalled noted how the team at Scientechnic Lighting Solutions are often contacted for samples. However, “lighting is about a feeling, not a sample” he said. It’s more cost-effective to get 1 or 2 mockup rooms wrong than an entire 300.

Touching upon the advancement in technology, the field of Lighting Controls has come a long way in the past few years thanks to DALI. DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) is a two-way communication system that brings digital technology to lighting. It has removed the need for multi-wiring and can cover up to 16 different circuits in 1. DALI also has built-in presence detection and can be incorporated into the overall Hotel Management System. Whilst it may seem expensive, the overall ROI ensures the system pays for itself over a span of 3 to 5 years.

Ahmed Saliem went on to comment “The fact that it is controllable and variable gives the operator the flexibility to create multiple experiences in one zone. It is not a static experience, it is a dynamic experience”.

Given the growing list of technically savvy possibilities, Courtney Mark warned about going overboard and reiterated the importance of the mockup stage when she said “People just want simplicity and want to enjoy their space.”

In conclusion, lighting for Hospitality is a fine art. The key to success lies in creating a holistic experience where a guest feels welcomed, safe and pampered to work, live and play. Lighting Design is the secret sauce in enhancing overall interior design and living up to a hotel’s brand ethos.

To watch a replay of the webinar, please click here: 

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