Seeing the light

Did you know your property ambience might have nothing to do with lighting, but rather the light? The minute I was sold on this relatively simple theory and trend, I started to notice how many commercial environments were benefitting from a strategically placed ray of light — and, in some cases, multiple rays — adorning their walls! 

Clearly not just another disco ball reincarnation nor is it a modern version of the neon, florescent or gobo lighting displays known to project names and logos, but rather, it is a form of art best described as “illuminated wallpaper.”

This trend of using light to create a wall of stunning art creates a visual experience you can almost feel. Applied as an all-over repeated design of multiple markings (sometimes linear and sometimes soft, random, cloud-like shapes), they are projected onto blank walls without color. Whether it be in a restaurant or hotel, this intriguing lighting has the capability of transforming an entire room or space, create awe, build an identity and establish a not-so-basic vibe — a really wise consideration, especially during renovations and new builds.

Whether your walls are currently graced with framed art or static wallpaper, personalizing with an illuminated effect can be done directly on the wall itself or via an oversized glass panel encompassing a majority of the wall. Many panels come equipped with motion sensors for an even more unique experience.

I am so inspired by several installations that have been implemented around the world, but it was the recent award-winning Atrium project from Foster + Partners at the ME Hotel in London that inspired me to research this trend. Understanding not all readers will have the infrastructure to create something so dramatic, borrowing the idea and creating a one-off using subtle projection can be done. In fact, more than ever, lighting designers are putting more of an emphasis on what their designs are projecting (thanks to specially designed bulbs and covers) in order to capitalize on the incredible popularity taking place with wall projections.

Below are a couple more examples of some breathtaking light. If there is a space you feel completely transformed strictly because of its imaginative lighting, please share your tips.