How mood lighting can affect F&B atmosphere

Small, hidden lighting fixtures are ideal for intimate F&B settings.

Designing for hotel F&B areas hinges on atmosphere. Color, specifically, can affect the environment of a space, which is why understanding lighting is crucial to creating an ideal space. Specifically, the use of colored mood lighting has found its way to F&B, but the space should be fully understood in order for the lighting to be used properly.

“There are a lot of challenges and drawbacks in the way color can be used in a space, and how it affects human interaction with the space and one another,” said Nick Albert, director at lighting designer Illuminate. “Studies have shown that the color of light can affect the taste of food, and designers must be careful with lighting to not aversely affect the experience.”

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Kay Lang, principal in charge of interior design firm Kay Lang + Associates, said designing for F&B depends on the food being served. “In a gastropub, Edison lighting can be used to give a warm air of sophistication while remaining casual, while five-star dining should have small, hidden light sources,” Lang said.

Elaborate lighting fixtures can be used to draw attention to architecture, such as the ceiling in the Grand Hyatt Shenyang, China.

According to Lang, lighting design should be used to create comfort on a subconscious level. Simple design decisions such as keeping a room bright and loud during the morning and keeping it dark with scattered accent lights at night can go a long way toward creating atmosphere. “Lighting in F&B is done well when it highlights existing architecture, or conceals it to focus on other artistic aspects in an existing space.”

While experimentation is encouraged, Albert cautions designers against creating too much visual noise through lighting design, especially for F&B, as in some cases it can distract from the space and its intended function. If a daring design is used in an F&B space, it can be difficult to determine whether or not guests will want to eat there, or designers will want to design that way in the future.

“There are so many possibilities available for F&B, but when designing for those areas, always go back to the core functional principles for the space,” Albert said. “People must feel comfortable there, they must be able to see what they are doing and the food has to look good.”