The Study of Light
I'm currently attending school for interior design and I am absolutely loving my classes so far! I'm taking four courses: hand drafting, AutoCAD, Materials, and Lighting. This blog post is a snippet of a lighting journal I had to do where I explored buildings across Los Angeles and studied the light design.
The study of light is very deep and extensive, which is why there is a whole career devoted to it. There are people who are called Lighting Consultants, they work closely with architects and designers to come up with the best lighting solution for a space.
I am learning so much and find the subject fascinating! Here are some observations I have made so far:
The Ace Hotel's Rooftop Bar
Functions of Illumination:
The Ace Hotel in the downtown district of Los Angeles is known for its historical theaters and the high-standing structure of stone spires. When the structure lights up at sunset, it highlights the Spanish tower details with a beautiful and warm ambient light. The rooftop bar lies within the structure, offering an exterior terrace that overlooks the city. Inside the structure, eyes are captivated by the Spanish pattern of openings in the south wall. This conceptual pattern of the cut-outs allow for sunlight to beam through and add an ornate pattern inside the dark crevice. The bottles at the bar are highlighted by the diffused ambient lighting, showcasing the variety of alcohol offered. In the center of the bar’s ceiling is a conceptual chandelier of lights chained together. To the north end of the bar lies the elevator entrance and bench. The north wall has a Spanish pattern engraved into the concrete that is layered in receding depths and lit by a diffused and ambient light. The light is considered a wall grazer because it is showing the texture of the wall. There on the wall lies the only window in the structure wall, allowing minimal light to come in. Above the elevator entrance is a globe pendant light that is very ambient.
Psychology of Lighting:
The structure resting high in the skyline of the historic downtown district stands out beautifully and sets the hotel apart from the other buildings. The ornate detail in the tower, which is illuminated by the warm ambient lighting, echoes the historic architecture of the hotel. The high contrast of darkness inside the structure with the daylight beaming through the patterned openings in the south wall and the dramatic wall grazer on the north wall make guests feel like they are in an exclusive setting and feel very intimate. This type of intimacy achieved creates an atmosphere that is calm, relaxed, and friendly with the bar. As the sun begins to set, the lighting in the tower bar becomes darker and warmer from the chandelier and ambient lighting. The lights from the surrounding highrises and buildings stand out, which is the purpose of a rooftop bar in downtown.
The color temperature of the Ace Hotel is very warm and deep. The warm ambient lighting is a nice accent to the bordering concrete walls of the tower. The warm lighting also contrasts nicely with the blue sky that peaks through the south wall’s cut-outs, being that orange and blue are on opposite ends of the color spectrum.
Rush Street Bar & Restaurant
Functions of Illumination:
Rush Street stands out as people stroll amongst the streets of downtown Culver City. A very crowded patio is illuminated by heat lamps and directional exterior lights, convincing me of the restaurant’s popularity. When I walked inside the restaurant, my eyes were captivated by the large letters bordering the second floor railing, spelling out “RUSH” in bold lighting. The conceptual letters were paired with string lights wrapped around the structural ceiling beams. My attention was then grabbed by the illuminate green lighting that was diffused against the bar’s shelving. The green ambient lighting stood out and showcased the alcohol selection. A pretty blue light was diffused just above, providing a particular brand of alcohol with a unique ambient light, setting that brand apart from the green lit alcohol. The bar was lit by overhead task lighting that were emanating from beautiful pendant lights. The light was directed towards the bar directly beneath so that guests could see and enjoy their drinks. Across the restaurant, the walls were scalloped by two different patterns of lighting. Two fixtures, offering different sized and colored scallops, ran along the wall, lighting up the brick and wall art from underneath.
Psychology of Lighting:
The string lights wrapped around the structural beams highlight the high, exposed ceilings and make the space feel larger than life when you walk inside. The string lights also insinuate a relaxed, casual setting which can make guests feel more comfortable to hang out and watch the game they have on the TV. The conceptual choice of marquee letters attracts a hip crowd and follows a popular trend that is popping up in the commercial world. The blue and green ambient lighting at the bar is meant to showcase the alcohol selection, so that guests can see the higher end choices and make a pricier choice when it comes to selecting their drink. The lights also make the bar a high point of attention and action, attracting more young people to the crowd and resulting in more sales.
The ambient lighting is very warm throughout the restaurant, except for the bar! The bar offers a cool and colorful spectrum of light which goes into the psychology of selling and illuminance. The warm ambient lighting is strengthened by the warm colored accents, such as the brick walls and wood beams.