Modern techniques used In Restaurant Lighting; Dillraj L Bhatia

Modern techniques used In Restaurant Lighting; Dillraj L Bhatia

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photographs: DBEL Studio

‘Earlier lighting only meant putting up a bulband there was no scope of choice. But nowadays, you have an access to a wide range of creative lighting solutions and designer lights in all kinds of materials, shapes, and sizes to add drama to a space or provide a cosy, intimate environment, depending on what mood you want to create’, says Dillraj L Bhatia, Founder, DBEL Studio

As the famous saying goes, ‘one eats first through the eyes and then through the mouth’and how you look at food depends a lot on the ambience or the setting that you are in. Customer satisfaction is the priority for every business. Coming to restaurants, the success of the restaurant lies in the food is a myth. As many factors are involved like the food, menu, interior, staff. You can’t keep anything for granted especially the ambiance as it is the first impression of the restaurant. As we all know the ambiance of a restaurant is made by lighting which reinforce the design theme and contribute to the positive impression of a space. However, when we talk about lighting decor things are not the same as they were in the past. Earlier lighting only meant putting up a bulband there was no scope of choice. But nowadays, you have an access to a wide range of creative lighting solutions and designer lights in all kinds of materials, shapes, and sizes to add drama to a space or provide a cosy, intimate environment, depending on what mood you want to create.   

Technology has played an incredible role to enable us to use different types of lighting for different areas and for different purposes. In restaurants, we have seen that the most common type of lighting is the ambient lighting that creates the personality of the restaurants. Ambient lighting might be bright or dull depending upon the theme or the time of the day in a restaurant. A dull theme might not be apt for family restaurants while bright lighting might not be ideal at night for youngsters looking for a party. And, technology has definitely blessed us with a new system with which we control the voltage to a light source to an appropriate mood for the type of restaurant.

LED are very popular in today’s market and offer good light quality; so it’s a fairly safe decision to use them in restaurant lighting. Most modern LED lighting is also completely dimmable. This is great for restaurants as it makes it extremely easy to set the mood for a night at the restaurant and the lighting can then be turned up for employee meetings, which makes it extremely easy to give your restaurant multiple purposes. LED restaurant lighting not only enhances the atmosphere through increased control but also reduces the energy requirements and operating cost.  

There are essentially three lighting varieties that can have extremely large impact on a diner’s overall customer satisfaction. These are ambient light, accent lighting, and featured décor. Ambient sets the baseline and are more indirect and soft, reducing contrast and shadows and is achieved through natural and artificial light sources. Accents provide the contrast and are used to add highlight, drama and focus to interior spaces. Accent lighting is generally brighter than the ambient level, depending on the overall reflectance value of the surfaces to be illuminated. This includes directional lighting placed on artwork or recessed floor lighting to graze the surface of a textured material. Featured lights are focal points to illuminate a small, specific area. Decorative or feature lighting elements such as chandeliers and wall sconces reinforce the spatial and visual hierarchies. When using a mix of fixtures, try to minimize the number of lamp (bulb) types used for ambient and accent lighting for ease in maintenance.

There are five restaurant lighting designing rules that one should keep in mind.   

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Ceiling height

Understanding the parameters and restraints of the space is the first design rule. A high ceiling can make a space seem bigger and help create a livelier atmosphere. In contrast, a low ceiling fosters a more intimate atmosphere. The intensity of your lighting fixtures depends on the height of your ceiling, the colour of your walls and floors, your tiling and carpeting, and your furniture arrangement. Standard light fittings allow for a 1 metre drop from the ceiling, however for vaulted ceilings or double height ceilings this may be insufficient lighting at dining level.Select customized lighting to suit your ceiling height.  

Lighting levels

It is very important to consider lighting levels. Creating a light, bright work environment within the kitchen is paramount, however it is also important to ensure that unwanted kitchen light doesn’t spill over into the dining space. Where possible choose dimmable lighting so light levels can be altered when needed.

Highlighting room features

Another consideration is highlighting dining room’s special features. Use directional lighting and up lighters to highlight points of interest like coving, vaulted ceilings, artwork and so on.

Moveable lighting

Consider incorporating some flexible lighting solutions in your restaurant to cope with changes in layout. Track lighting, lights with extendable arms and adjustable pendants will help cater for these changes.

Outdoor lighting

Making good use of lighting on the outside of the building is as important as getting it right inside. Well-designed exteriors are the first impression that potential patrons are going to have of your restaurant. Outdoor lights can highlight signs, menus and interesting architectural details, and create an overall welcoming ambience.

If you own a seaside resort leveraging the natural light is plausible. At daytime, the ambience generated by the sight of what’s happening out there is pleasing, but switching the style without altering with the mood and style at night is an intricate affair.

It takes a lot of experience and thought to select the right lighting for the right place for the right time of the day in a restaurant but if you get it right you only have to worry about the food that you serve.