Twinkle, twinkle, little LED

On the occasional private residential projects that we work on, we sometimes get the request from the client to create little starry skies on the ceiling with optical fiber or LED technology for their kid’s bedroom. It’s something similar to what we, as frequent travelers, tend to stare at on some aircraft ceilings.

Admittedly, they do add a little fun and magic, and if I were a couple of decades younger, I would surely be glad to go to dreamland under a sky of glistening and twinkling lights. If only LED had been available back then.

As a hospitality designer, with much of our work spread out over different time zones, I hardly get to sleep in my own bedroom these days. Hotel rooms have become the home away from home, and I have come to a realization that a lot of new hotels are taking a whole different interpretation of the twinkling LED lights!

When I try to get some shut-eye, I like my habitat to be rather pitch black. But with the all lights turned down, curtains closed, I am still seeing all kinds of control panels, AC and ceiling detectors, AV equipment, all lit up by those little LED pilot lights. Sometimes, all together, they are bright enough to even project shadows onto the wall.

This certainly doesn’t bring me back to childhood dreams or any romantic ambiance. It’s more disturbing than anything else. So whenever I encounter these bright dots that keep me up all night, I will use a totally removable opaque tape that I always bring along on my travels to ensure a restful night – in pure, much-needed darkness. This also comes back to one of my strong beliefs that truly advanced technology should be invisible.