Festive Lighting that Stands Out

Michela Mezzavilla, architect and lighting designer (APDI) based in Barcelona, Spain, and co-founder of studio reMM, shares in the GE lighting blog below her experience with hotel festive lighting.

Each year, long before Christmas and New Year arrives, businesses begin planning their festive campaigns. Ornate decorations are the hallmark of the holiday season and as such, are important additions to commercial spaces for heightening that holiday ambience. Essential to the Christmas spirit, lights have come to embody this holiday mood.

Hotels are some of the most iconic locations when it comes to lighting and holiday decorations

Hotels have the biggest task when choosing festive exterior lighting, as their façades are often reference points in the urban environment and help sustain the image of the city. Commonly located on major streets, or in the hub of city life, hotels are some of the most iconic locations when it comes to lighting and holiday decorations – no matter what the motif. But it’s not just the façade that’s important; interior lighting and decorations must also integrate harmoniously with existing interior design, as well as creating the festive environment visitors want to see.

So how can hotels manage to create a magical atmosphere with light, invoke the holiday spirit, and still stand apart from competitors? Firstly, each hotel must consider its own distinct character and visual identity – for a holiday lighting plan to be successful it must not interfere with the distinct identity that patrons recognize. To maintain this, careful planning and consideration are key – decorations should not be improvised or appear haphazard and should be incorporated into the overall design and marketing strategy well in advance. For example, when using LEDs it’s worth considering early on in the planning process how control systems will be integrated into the lighting scheme.

Grand Hotel Central by Maria Güell – La invisible. (Photo Credit: Rafael Vargas)

LEDs offer extremely low energy consumption and long life spans, making them ideal light sources for decorative lighting, which must be switched on continuously throughout the holiday season. In addition, the intelligent control systems allow designers and engineers to plan dynamic and intricately lit scenes, which are also easy to install and change each and every winter. Designers can install an additional system just for the holiday season or manipulate existing lighting systems – or do both, by installing sections that work alongside existing lighting assets when Christmas and New Year rolls around.

Geometric LED grids or patterns are flexible decorating options, as they can be draped the existing architecture to enhance interesting features. And the fact that LED points resemble small sparkling stars or snowflakes may just be the best coincidence of all! Twinkling LEDs can create a simple, yet elegant setting for both interior and exterior spaces alike, as well as enabling hotels to adjust existing lighting levels and/or color temperatures to create the perfect light ambience.

Ayre Hotel by Michela Mezzavilla – reMM. (Photo Credit: Stefan Müller)

In an ideal situation, hotels should aim to establish flexible year-round lighting schemes that have the capacity to be converted into festive arrangements through the use of lighting controls. This by far is the most efficient solution in terms of optimizing resources, while also having the advantage of allowing for integrated and personalized lighting effects unique to each hotel and company.

Barcelona has a couple of hotels that are really good examples of this simple approach. The Grand Hotel Central in Barcelona uses control systems to change the lighting grid of its façade, creating different patterns and icons by playing with timing, rhythm and intensity of lights. The Hotel Ayre Rosellón, on the other hand, has an interior patio that also plays with timing and rhythm, but also adds color as another layer of communication. In this instance, RGB LED light panels allow for infinite combinations of color and saturation, perfect for holiday decorations that also fit perfectly into the hotel’s theme.

Critically, in both these examples the lighting installations are live throughout the year and can be personalized for a myriad of other festivities and events outside of the Christmas season – offering the hoteliers ultimate flexibility to create unique environments and an appealing ambience for their guests year round.

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