7 March, 2012 11:05
Recently, I sat down at one of those “fast-casual” restaurants for a quick meal and coffee. I chose this location for the atmosphere and quality of food. As I walked up to the counter to place my order, my nose was filled with smells of hearty soups, fresh breads and coffee. There was soft music playing in the background and the walls, tables and chairs were all muted coffee house type colors. These were all deliberate choices by the creators of this restaurant concept. There are so many aspects involved when designing a dining environment and all the senses should be engaged.
Once the concept for this restaurant was developed, the lighting designers began working. They created a lighting layout, decided on fixtures and mapped out each space based on what they wished to evoke; privacy, spaciousness, etc.
The lighting at this restaurant was well thought out. It was bright enough in the employee work areas but dimmed slightly in the dining areas. Also, accent lighting was used on the artwork. They created an inviting environment that invites many customers to return to on a regular basis.
Proper lighting completes the restaurant concept. However, it seems that the value of well-designed lighting often goes unnoticed. Sure, there is a lot to know and it can sometimes be confusing, but with some basic lighting education (and perhaps a lighting design professional) this task may not be as daunting as you think.