Bringing venues to life with the flick of a switch

Using the right lighting can totally transform a space. Experts from AD Associates tell Lindsay James how

Bringing venues to life with the flick of a switch
AD Associates has upgraded the lighting in the Silk Kitchen & Bar on Crystal Symphony

This article was first published in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

If there’s one element of a cruise ship interior design that should not be underestimated, it’s the lighting. 

Far more than just a practical necessity or a bolt-on afterthought, its carefully considered application can transform a space from ordinary to extraordinary. What’s more, it can significantly boost the guest experience whilst also providing a raft of energy-saving benefits. 

From a design agency perspective, lighting is considered from the outset as a method in which to make the most from a space. It can change the mood and use of a room just as it does the perceived size, which is a crucial factor in a cruise environment because space is so finite.

Designers generally consider four key types of lighting: accent; ambient; task; and entertainment. 

Accent lighting is used to add drama to a room through creating elements of visual interest by drawing the eye to key design focal points like artwork. 

Ambient or general lighting, meanwhile, provides the sweeping illumination of a space and should beam a comfort level without glare and allow guests to walk around safely. In some crew spaces, such as laundry rooms, the ambient lighting also serves as the main source of task lighting. 

Task lighting helps guests or crew perform certain activities such as reading, grooming, preparing and cooking food or playing games. This sort of lighting is particularly useful in multifunction public spaces that can see the purpose of a room change throughout the course of the day. 

Finally, there’s entertainment lighting. In venues with a dancefloor or a stage, for instance, this type of lighting must easily integrate with technical equipment like audio visual. Special considerations must be given to conceal some of these bigger light fittings as it can detract from the aesthetic of the space. 

To ensure design aspirations for renovations can be truly realised, design agencies work closely with lighting consultants to bring their vision to life through either integration into the ship’s current system or by installing a brand new one. Working with the designs provided, the consultants set the specifications and carry out the on-site development. Furthermore, they ensure the contractor is installing the appropriate, quality devices and, where applicable, conforming to various industry standards. 

Nicola Preece, design director at London-based design agency AD Associates, explains the importance of upgrading lighting in revitalisation projects. “When given the opportunity to update a client’s lighting system, this can have huge benefits on the aesthetic. It completely boosts the new schemes and elevates the designs to how we intend them. Advancements in ambient lighting have come a long way since the days of big, inefficient incandescent bulbs and it’s really exciting to see what we can achieve with some considered and purposeful lighting choices.” 

These technological progressions go beyond purely the aesthetic. Controlled LEDs allow for lighting to be easily changed to accommodate the ambience of a room changing from day to night or from one activity to another. And, in many cases, new guest room fit-outs are allowing guests to customise and control their own environment through wearable technology or mobile apps. Extending beyond a simple dimmer setting, this type of technology can provide a multitude of colours and themes to suit the guest’s preferences. 

Similarly, and most importantly, is the energy-saving benefits associated with new lighting systems. “We always encourage and advocate that our clients upgrade their lighting systems to incorporate energy-efficient lighting solutions,” says Chris Finch, founder and CEO at AD Associates. “We appreciate there will be a higher, initial cost for the installation of a new system but the cost savings over time makes it worth it, not to mention the sustainability aspect which should not be overlooked.” 

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Lindsay James
By Lindsay James
Monday, July 22, 2019