SUPPLIER ROUNDTABLE: Lighting

Lighting suppliers and hoteliers discuss the trends dominating design

Laser and Electronics Middle East LLC, which was established in 2008 and offers Optiled LED lighting, installed The Address, Dubai Mall.
Laser and Electronics Middle East LLC, which was established in 2008 and offers Optiled LED lighting, installed The Address, Dubai Mall.
The pool lighting at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara was designed by Delta Lighting Solutions.
The pool lighting at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara was designed by Delta Lighting Solutions.
The Oculus installation at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi was created by Lasvit.
The Oculus installation at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi was created by Lasvit.
Lighting by Zumtobel at Hotel Carlton, St. Moritz, in Switzerland.
Lighting by Zumtobel at Hotel Carlton, St. Moritz, in Switzerland.
Chelsom Lighting, which has a specialised Middle East division, installed So Spa Sofitel, London.
Chelsom Lighting, which has a specialised Middle East division, installed So Spa Sofitel, London.
The Torch Doha's exterior features 3500 LED lights.
The Torch Doha's exterior features 3500 LED lights.

Hotel lighting is not one size fits all: rooms and restaurants require different approaches and styles. here, Lighting suppliers and hoteliers discuss the trends most likely to dominate design and question costs, colours and crystals

Q: What are the main considerations for hotels when choosing lighting?
Jane Aldersley, sales and design manager, Global Light and Power LLC: The appearance of the light fixtures themselves and the strength of the light output will often be different depending on the area of the hotel.

Warm light is very important for hotels, they want their guests to feel welcome and relaxed as they would at home.

Sanuj Kohli, executive director, Laser and Electronics Middle East LLC: The concept of sustainability has become vital in recent years. It’s also important to make sure that decorative light fittings are durable and made from high quality materials such as brass, nickel and glass as opposed to plastic and wood which is easily breakable.

Paolo Cervini, general manager, Philips Lighting Middle East & Turkey: Hotels should consider three key areas when defining their lighting application strategy: energy efficiency, life-time cost and optimum design.

Vadim Horna, managing director, Lasvit (Gulf) FZE: Crystal glass and lighting installations are becoming more important, and early coordination with the interior designer is necessary.
The installations need to match the whole interior concept and the design is usually done months and even years before the actual fittings are purchased and installed.

Anastasia Faltenberg, marketing specialist, Zumtobel Lighting MENA: The main consideration for choosing lighting or designing a lighting solution for a hotel is the image which the operator of the hotel wants to communicate to its guests. Lighting should be able to provide in every area of the hotel the brand message of the hotel.

Vanessa Soley-Peters, Middle East consultant, Chelsom Ltd.: It must be well engineered, good quality materials used, well designed and durable, but easy to maintain. It should be user friendly for the guests and staff and provide good light levels.

Oliver Bruns, hotel manager, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi: It should provide a pleasant light in terms of colour to suit different areas.

Guestrooms should be pleasantly lit, not too bright and not too dark. Accent lights are used to ensure reading is possible at the desk or in bed, whilst ensuring sharing guests are not blinded or disturbed.

Mohamed Macki, chief engineer, Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa: Design, ambience, durability and initial cost.

Q: Are hotels doing enough to find their optimal lighting solutions and what more could they be doing?
Jane Aldersley: A lot of hotels use lighting consultants who sometimes want to stick with what they know. Hotels get the best results when they have a competent engineering department who can do their own research, evaluate the options independently and find the best solution for that specific hotel.

The best approach is to find some options from locally-based companies, install and test the lights over a decent time period, and ensure that the selected supplier offers a good warranty period with locally based technical and sales support staff.

Sanuj Kohli: Hotels should consult with a number of different lighting designers and lighting suppliers who should work closely together with the interior designers to create an optimal lighting solution for each area of the hotel.

Vanessa Soley-Peters: Hotel operators need to be made more aware of the energy consumption issues when lighting a big hotel and understand that there are many low energy options now available to them that are equally as successful.

Ziad Fattouh, managing director and partner, Delta Lighting solutions: The approach of many of the hotel design teams and the clients whom we work with is quite often too utilitarian and the process rushed, especially if a client has seen the solution elsewhere and wants to duplicate it.

We tend to move against such an approach as at the end of the day we feel that design is our strength.

Anastasia Faltenberg: As light is a tool to create atmospheres and awake emotions, hotels are taking light more seriously as a communication tool.

Q: What are the current trends in hotel lighting?
Jane Aldersley: The main trend is luxury. Hotels want their properties to appear as luxurious and high-end as possible, and LED lights help them to achieve this because good quality LED lamps last for 10 years on average, so they hardly ever need replacing.

When all of your lights are functioning properly, and you don’t constantly need maintenance staff going around changing lamps, it contributes to the appearance of high-end luxury and quality.

Sanuj Kohli: There are several types of automation available today for lighting companies to set different types of moods and aesthetic ambiences; however, the latest type of automation technology is wireless touch technology, where hotel guests can control various applications in their room through an iPod or iPad.

Vadim Horna: Decorative lighting only a few years ago meant chandeliers, however, now we are talking about crystal glass and lighting installations which are the key feature pieces of the interior. Decorative lighting installations become more important as they substantially influence the guest’s first impression and overall experience.

Vanessa Soley-Peters: For public areas the trends are very eclectic — classic styles mixed in with contemporary, a Middle Eastern pattern incorporated into a modern light fitting, a blending of Arabic influences with European or Asian styles. In the bedrooms the lighting is often more contemporary and retro lighting from the 50s and 60s is making a comeback, but with Middle Eastern influences added.

Q: What should hotels be doing to tailor lighting to specific areas of the hotel?
Paolo Cervini: Each and every area in the hotel is important from the application point of view, thus it’s important to treat each area specifically. Reception and lobbies provide a perfect opportunity to create a great first impression with a welcoming ambience, fused with a hint of excitement and professionalism.

Functional lighting during the day will also enable cleaning staff to do their job effectively.

Anastasia Faltenberg: Before defining a lighting solution for the different areas of the hotel the functionality and the effect of lighting should be clear in each area. The areas of the hotel can be classified under three aspects: feeling light for the lobby and room, experience light for the spa and dining areas and seeing light for corridors and other functional areas.

Oliver Bruns: Lighting should provide a unique identity to different areas, particularly restaurants. Both colours and intensity are important considerations.

Sherif Sabry, director of sales and marketing, The Torch Doha: The hotels should review the specific area concepts before and match it with the lighting. The right lighting is very important as it stimulates the psychology — lighting is very much based on mental and emotional effects.

Q: What are the main challenges faced when finding lighting solutions?
Sanuj Kohli: Today we are spoilt for choice between conventional lighting and LED lighting. It’s difficult for lighting designers and owners to decide which way to move as they must consider investment, lighting levels, automation and lighting control systems.

Anastasia Faltenberg: Meeting the expectations and requirements of the different stakeholders while creating an added value to the image and brand of the hotel. Vanessa Soley-Peters: The main challenge is to create a welcoming atmosphere whilst still providing task lighting required for each application.

Sherif Sabry: We are always looking for new trends as well as unique lighting; therefore we have to find it abroad, which is challenging sometimes.

Mohamed Macki: Finding something that is durable compared to initial cost is the main challenge.

Ziad Fattouh: For hospitality lighting design, often we are handed with design standards from operators. We understand the need of standardisation and branding, unfortunately operators [are sometimes] unwilling to make alterations for exception or creativity.

Q: Have you found that costs have increased in recent years due to new technologies and have hotel budgets changed to meet this?
Jane Aldersley: Cost is always an issue, and sometimes purchasing departments fail to recognise that initial costs are just part of the equation, and that operational costs are often far higher.

We find that when the hotel has very strong, visionary management, there will be a push for lower running costs in terms of power consumption and maintenance effort, and this is where LED comes to the fore.

Sanuj Kohli: In the Middle East five-star hotels have increased their budgets for sustainable technologies. Initial investments may be high, however, in the long-run the returns are more favourable.

Paolo Cervini: With the pace that LEDs are penetrating every segment of lighting, it easy to believe that the difference between the conventional and LEDs will continue reducing at a very fast pace.

Vadim Horna: Some projects are running purely on budget with little consideration to quality and we leave these projects alone. On the other hand there are projects where quality is of utmost importance and I must say that the proportion of these quality projects is far higher in the UAE than in the rest of the region.

Vanessa Soley-Peters: Initially any new technological breakthrough in lighting sources can be expensive but thankfully the companies who are making these breakthroughs are also constantly working on the products to value engineer them so that they can be made affordable for the end-user.

There are many companies providing inexpensive low energy lamping options, however, it is important to remember the cheapest option in low energy lamps will not always give the best quality light output or life time of the lamp.

Meet the experts

Jane Aldersley, sales and design manager, Global Light and Power LLC. Global Light and Power is a manufacturer of LED lighting fixtures, lighting power supplies and LED drivers both for indoor and outdoor lighting. Based in Dubai and established in 2007, it has worked on numerous architectural and landscaping projects.

Sanuj Kohli, executive director, Laser and Electronics Middle East LLC. LEME’s lighting division was established in 2008 and specialises in new builds and retrofits, offering Optiled LED lighting. It has a team of experts who can design a complete lighting solution depending on requirements and cost.

Paolo Cervini, general manager, Philips Lighting Middle East & Turkey. Philips Lighting Middle East, which is a division of Philips, designs lighting solutions for a variety of retail and hospitality projects. It is currently focused on offering environmentally friendly products and innovating LED technologies.

Vadim Horna, managing director, Lasvit (Gulf) FZE. Lasvit is a Czech company which specialises in lighting features which highlight the use of glass in its installations. Its glass sculptures use everything from simple coloured glass to cut crystal to create eye-catching pieces.

Anastasia Faltenberg, marketing specialist, Zumtobel Lighting MENA. Zumtobel was formed more than 50 years ago and has since been developing custom lighting solutions and control systems for a variety of applications, including retail, offices and hospitality and hotels.

Vanessa Soley-Peters, Middle East consultant, Chelsom Ltd. Chelsom is a UK-based company exporting lighting products to more than 70 countries, but now has a specialised Middle East division. It specialises in custom solutions for hotels and cruise ships, as well as other commercial applications.

Oliver Bruns, hotel manager, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi. Yas Viceroy Hotel is an iconic 499-key property on Yas Island, which implements gridshell lighting on its exterior. This shell uses almost 5000 LED fixtures, offering 44 million different colours.

Mohamed Macki, chief engineer, Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is located only 15 minutes away from Muscat, but also overlooks the Gulf of Oman. The resort consists of three hotels — Al Waha, a family-orientated property, Al Bandar, a deluxe hotel and Al Husn, an exclusive retreat.

Ziad Fattouh, managing director and partner, Delta Lighting Solutions
Delta Lighting is a German company specialising in architectural lighting solutions, which opened its Dubai office in 2002, and has managed projects from hotels and malls to city masterplans.

Sherif Sabry, director of sales and marketing, The Torch Doha
The Torch Doha’s exterior has 3500 LED lights, which can act as a screen to display images and HD movie files. Opened late 2011, it has 167 rooms.

How should coloured lighting be used in hotels?
Use colour with caution! I like to stick with one colour for an area, rather than a multi-coloured disco effect, as this can appear disastrously tacky. When in doubt, always stick with warm white and you can’t really go wrong. - Jane Aldersley

Make the atmosphere professional and refreshing during the day, more intimate and laid back during the evening. Coloured lighting is also being used to turn your hotels into a landmark that people will remember and recognise. Hotel façade is the most potent calling card. - Paolo Cervini

We have the option of using coloured light instead of coloured glass, and new technologies enable easy colour changing and different colours can be used for different events or times of the day. - Vadim Horna

RGB rotating colour changing LED can be used in an all-white room to create constant, subtle colour changes, it also works well in a bar or restaurant application or on a feature chandelier. It can create a stunning effect at night in a swimming pool as well. —Vanessa Soley-Peters

We show off the shape of Yas Viceroy by using almost 5000 light fixtures that can project up to 44 million different colours onto the hotel’s famous gridshell. It also allows us to show any type of graphic such as company logos for conferences taking place at the hotel. It can be seen from miles away. — Oliver Bruns

Warm colours are often associated with food; we are careful about using bright colours like orange. They reflect more light and excessively stimulate a person’s eyes which can lead to irritation. — Sherif Sabry

If coloured light does not have significance to the design of the project then the lighting will get old very fast. — Ziad Fattouh

What’s going to be hot in the next year?
- In-room mood lighting with different colours — Sherif Sabry
- Dimmable LED bulbs to be compatible with DALI dimming systems — Sanuj Kohli
- Bedroom lighting systems will be linked to individual remote touch pads, like an iPad, that allows the guest to control the entire room with a touch of the screen
— Vanessa Soley-Peters
- LED lights on exterior facades. These can act as a huge screen by displaying images and HD movies files — Sherif Sabry
- Solar power lighting systems for both exterior and interior lighting —Sanuj Kohli
- Holograms, with light projected in any kind of shape and colour — Sherif Sabry

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