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Designing for ambience, lighting and acoustic perfection

Hospitality interior projects are exciting, yet complex. Far more than just the aesthetics, hospitality spaces need to be designed with a multifaceted sensory experience in mind. Acoustics, lighting and aesthetics, all play a significant role in shaping a venue to create a pleasurable multisensory experience for patrons. Whether designing a restaurant, cocktail bar, hotel or event space, a considered approach to the balance of ambience and aesthetics is key. Revolutionary new architectural products, such as acoustic lighting, enable designers to seamlessly integrate sensory experience design into hospitality environments. Cost-effective, functional and stylish, acoustic lighting is a designer’s secret weapon to creating hospitality venues that will leave lasting impressions, for ongoing profitability and success.

Acoustic treatments for dining in comfort

Modern trends in venue design have seen the rise of hard surfaces such as polished concrete, timber and steel, offering an easy-clean industrial vibe, but also a limited opportunity for traditional acoustic treatments. This minimalist style creates an environment for high levels of sound reverberation, creating an acoustic discomfort for customers and staff. So, while some sound is essential for creating an ambient experience, how do designers best manage all of these sounds through design? 

AS/NZS 2107:2016 recommends designers work to provide “healthy, comfortable and productive environments for the occupants and end-users” and specifies a recommended reverberation time for hospitality interior spaces as less than one second, to ensure diners can comfortably hear one another. Overly noisy environments have many negative impacts, including increased stress levels, difficulty in hearing conversations, distraction and fatigue. By giving careful consideration to the acoustic treatment of the space, designers can mitigate these effects to create a pleasurable environment. Not only does this make it easier for patrons to enjoy their experience, but it lowers stress levels in staff and brings designers closer to compliance with the required standards.

Attending to the functional flow of the venue, by positioning customers away from noisier areas, is one key element in managing sound through layout, however, there can be limitations on space and utilities. Additional design treatments are needed to bring balance to the acoustics and reduce excessive noise within a space. Acoustic lighting offers a particularly effective acoustic solution, as it’s positioned to impede sound waves near their point of origin. Conversational speech is generated at head level, and reverberates from the ceiling, meaning acoustic light fixtures are positioned for optimal effectiveness. Acoustic lighting also performs better than traditional acoustic solutions of similar size and material because the lampshade’s interior and the exterior are both exposed, doubling the functional surface area for sound absorption.

Acoustic lighting is a simple interior design element that can dramatically increase a customer’s experience without significantly increasing building or design costs. They can be included as part of the initial design scheme, or fitted into an existing space. Luxxbox acoustic lights are an economical way to address acoustics in noisy restaurants and cafes with minimal impact on the business. They are easily installed and don’t require the venue to be closed for long periods of time affecting cash flow. 

Lighting design for functional illumination 

Creating a comfortable dining experience also includes how the patron visually experiences the food, company and environment. Lighting plays a key role in the overall experience of a cafe or restaurant, both functionally and aesthetically. Well-appointed lighting has purposeful layers; focused lighting for tasks, low lighting for intimate dining experience and accent or decorative lighting to contribute to the sensory experience. So, how do designers tackle the complex variants of lighting design without visually overwhelming the space?

Modern, high-tech lighting options allow designers to address hospitality spaces with flexibility and efficiency. Acoustic lighting, for example, optimises lighting while doubling as a sound management tool, offering a multi-functional and streamlined approach to lighting design. Luxxbox’s innovative acoustic lights come with high-performance dimmable LED lighting, plus optional upward dimmable LED wash for additional design applications. High-tech options such as power over ethernet (POE) and Bluetooth controller are also available on request. All Luxxbox products also come with IES lighting files and photometric data so designers can make the most informed lighting decisions. 

The newly released illi acoustic pendant was specifically designed as a decorative acoustic pendant perfect for hospitality spaces. The pendant fuses form and function, with soft PET outer gills offering a classic design aesthetic that doubles as a sound management tool. illi is the ideal acoustic pendant light for big spaces and voids. Hotel lobbies, foyers and vaulted ceilings often need noise absorption due to high sound reverberation. The high-output LED gives a serious lighting punch perfect for these large spaces.

Aesthetic appeal, adding personality to hospitality venues 

The aesthetics of a hospitality space are what brings the venue to life. Through clever combinations of colour schemes, design trends and material combinations, designers can incite a sense of personality that frame the entire experience. When considering the right architectural products for sensory venue design, practical acoustic solutions are often difficult to fit with the modern style schemes. While traditional acoustic solutions, including carpet and panels, serve a functional purpose, they don’t always offer the sleek, clean look often sought out in contemporary hospitality projects. The flipside of this is that there can sometimes be a lack of personality or unique design features. 

By combining effective sound absorption with stylish lighting design and modern finishes, Luxxbox acoustic lighting serves as an efficient alternative that seamlessly integrates into designs. Our diverse acoustic lighting products range from linear systems to decorative pendants, all in a wide range of sizes, materials and diminishes. With over 50 wool finishes and 20 acoustic PET options, Luxxbox fixtures can be styled to suit any environment. 

Our newly released Terrain and Motif finishes now add further design options to our acoustic lighting range. As linear lighting products are often used in large quantities to deliver significant noise reduction value, the addition of 3D embossing and printed patterns takes the design punch up another level again. Terrain offers the very latest in PET technology with embossed acoustic panelling, available in 22 different colour and pattern combinations on Linea and Blade. Alternatively, Motif offers a range of playful patterns that add personality to hospitality spaces. Motif is available in an initial collection of three patterns – Dazzle, Lines and Moons – that work with a range of PET colours with various ink options, on almost all Luxxbox acoustic lights.

Efficient solutions for ambience perfection 

While there are ways to master the balance of ambience and audibility, contemporary acoustic lighting fixtures efficiently blend form and function into stylish lighting fixtures that double as sound management tools. Cost-effective, sustainable, easy to install, and keeping patrons coming back, this design approach allows hospitality businesses to focus on what they do best – creating exceptional experiences for their customers. While people may not consciously visit a venue because the illumination and sound are perfect, they will certainly stay a little longer.

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