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Light Up Your Imagination



Eating in the right light

February - 2017
Dharmendra Patel - MD
Money spent on good lighting control systems especially in commercial spaces and restaurants pays off eventually. There is significantly more to it than just a few more pennies saved. Good lighting makes customers linger around longer and increases spending capacity per head in a restaurant. Nowadays, just good food is not enough, restaurants have to be designed to give off a positive vibe. One of the biggest components of creating a great vibe is lighting. Lighting designers are now forming an integral part of the interior design team to ensure that eating spaces are not too bright, lighting is functional, suits the concept of the restaurant and plays up the aesthetic element! Lending a helping hand are fixture manufacturers and lighting solution specialists like ourselves.
Eating in the right Light

The word ambience is an ambiguous one! What creates ambience and what destroys it has all to do with how a place makes you feel. A complex set of environmental stimuli affects an ambience. Usually, we eat within such environments. So many things affect our choice of food and intake. Its smell, colour, time, along with social and physical surroundings.

Ambience affects eating patterns and its manipulation can have striking results. Sometimes this manipulation may be as simple as flicking a switch or turning a dimmer. The singular effect of lighting can enhance the feel of a place more smartly than any other change in décor. Setting the mood to dramatic, bold, buzzing or romantic is easy with effective light play. Therefore, its crucial to environments such as restaurants, where apart from the food served, how a customer feels in the place is critical to the bottom-line.

“Carnival, the latest restaurant that Creation handed over is perhaps one of the best examples of how lighting in a restaurant can be set to ‘play’ mode,” say our Managing Director, Dharmendra Patel. “Increasingly, restaurant owners are acknowledging the role lighting plays in creating their brand identity.”
Accent Lighting
A feature wall flushed with accent lighting
A simple adjustment in the level of light can create a shift in ambience more effectively than perhaps any other design feature. It plays a strong supporting role in creating a brand, and it has the capacity to influence everything from cozy corner table, to countertop or cook and serve areas. While clearly more important and complex in some concepts than others, in no restaurant should lighting be an afterthought.

For long, it was only the high end restaurants, that gave lighting much thought. But now even regular high street eateries are taking note. “Time was when most restaurants just had flood lighting, but now using the right type of light is part of the equation in staying ahead of the game. Customers, are realizing that whether they spend less or more at an eating joint, it needs to make them feel comfortable,” continues Mr. Patel.

The thing to recognize is that creating this ambience need not be an expensive proposition. Sensible planning of a space and its use, can assist in the creation of separate levels of lighting zones. So much can be achieved through architectural lighting techniques, or discreet fixtures or decorative pieces such as chandeliers or pendant lights. “If you have the right designer, cost can be kept to a minimum.”

“Again we take the example of Carnival, there are so many levels to their lighting concept and so much variety too. All of it enhances the playful theatrical mystery that depicts a lively Indian fair! In contrast, Roberto’s at The Galleria Mall, with its sleek, chic, modern Italian flair has been designed to keep the buzz level on high”, says Mr. Patel.

But how does one choose the right kind of light for a specific place to create a certain ambience? “That’s where we as experts step in. We zoom in on the kind of fixtures to be used that deliver the desired degree of lighting strength, colour and temperature. It is very important that light does not distort the colour of the food to make it look like it stepped right out of a magazine.”
Layered Lighting
Layered Lighting with pendants and discreet wall fixtures

Mr. Patel explains that most restaurants want to achieve a fine balance between being functional and appearing theatrical. Since many restaurants opt for layered lighting, dimmers are a great idea, not only for ambience but for optimum usage of energy.
Restaurants use about five times more energy per square foot than other buildings, so LED’s are the way of the future. The technology has leaped ahead in the last few years. While once, LED’s only gave off a very cold and harsh light, things have changed drastically. Now available in warmer tones and in better colours that resemble incandescent lights, LED’s make both people and food look good. Although LED’s call for a higher initial investment, it pays off in about a year’s time so it clearly pans out. LEDs are rated 85% more efficient than incandescent bulbs and 50% more energy conscious than Compact Fluorescent lights, they don’t emit as much heat and last longer.

Since restaurants are primarily a commercial proposition, it makes sense to look at lighting from that perspective. While being energy conscious, switching to LED solutions and investing in proper lighting control systems to optimize energy consumption contributes to cost efficiency; investing in discreet and decorative lighting systems increases customer footfall. Clearly the case for looking into creating ambient lighting cannot be more emphasized. A little more invested initially, holds the potential of giving way more back in the long run!

One only needs to check out restaurants such as Tre at Nassimi Royal Hotel, Robertos in Abu Dhabi and Carnival in DIFC to know the difference.

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CREATION Gulf is a leading provider of architectural light fixtures and automation solutions since 1998. We specialize in the design, supply, testing and commissioning of a variety of turnkey lighting projects.

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