What does light "taste" like? Restaurant lighting should support a restaurant's concept and be in harmony with the architecture. From lunch kitchen to dinner restaurant, "Guests should have a different experience depending on the time of day," explains architect David Thulstrup. Tunable White restaurant light fixtures deliver this. They vary the restaurant lighting mood in line with natural daylight. Great restaurant lighting also makes sure the food looks delicious. LED lights for restaurants with a high colour rendering index (CRI≥90) add depth of colour and texture to the dishes and to the surfaces of the walls or upholstered furniture.
The so-called "observer principle" states that we like to see others in a brighter light than we perceive ourselves. This combines a protected feeling with top visibility of the surroundings. Successful restaurant lighting design follows this principle in that table surfaces are illuminated more brightly than seats. Meanwhile, the increased brightness makes for an appetising presentation of the food. Since restaurants are both places to take time out and work environments, they need great working light for staff combined with a unique ambience for guests.
The lighting was the focus of Restaurant Mühltalhof’s redesign. Thanks to intelligent lighting control, visiting the restaurant is now a holistic experience.
Whether guests feel comfortable in a restaurant is significantly influenced by lighting. Let our ideas for restaurant lighting inspire you.
We perceive warm light as intimate and relaxing, while cool light increases our attention. Thanks to their variable light colour, Tunable White LED restaurant lighting always create the right atmosphere. The Shaffy Restobar restaurant in Amsterdam is a great example. There, an "artificial sky" changes the restaurant lighting mood over the course of the day. This creates a natural ambience for guests, in harmony with the human biorhythm.
ARY is perfect for changing spatial concepts. The restaurant pendant light can be easily moved and repositioned. This means that the restaurant lighting can be flexibly adapted to table arrangements, events, or spatial redesign. ARY is also versatile in design; interchangeable shades in different colours make the luminaire a harmonious addition to bespoke interiors.
Interview with David Thulstrup, Lighting Designer
What does someone who designed the lighting for a worldrenowned gourmet restaurant think about restaurant lighting design? We asked David Thulstrup, architect and designer of our ARY luminaire and interior designer of Denmark’s NOMA 2.0.
Where do you see the trends for lighting design in restaurants?
Trends are usually not part of my work nor do I consider them as a guiding principle in my approach to architecture and design. Quite the opposite: spaces and objects should feel current but timeless—regardless of what is deemed ‘trendy’ right now. For me, working with a space holistically and understanding how it will be used is vital to create something that people feel comfortable in. That is the fundament for all decisions that follow from there on: light, materiality, colours, and form.
When it comes to restaurants, light and overall atmosphere differ tremendously for a fast-paced environment compared to Michelin-starred places. However, a few rules should always be applied: light fixtures in daytime places should reflect the vibrancy whereas more initiate settings require light that is centred around the table. No matter what trend is currently celebrated, these principles will always be relevant to create successful spaces.
When do you think restaurant lighting is successful?
Restaurant lighting is most successful when it accommodates the type of food and atmosphere. Light can really influence the mood—that’s why it is essential for a restaurant to adapt to natural light, day- and night-time, as well as different table settings.
For example, eating out during lunch should be a completely different experience compared to an intimate dinner at night—and the lighting design needs to be able to match that. Nevertheless, it is essential that all light is installed in a seamless way. Light shouldn’t be the first element you focus on upon entering a restaurant; though, it should naturally enhance the architecture and guide you throughout the space.
What do you enjoy most when working with light?
The advancement of light designs and technical standards have really enabled to push boundaries and implement exciting visions. Nowadays, restaurants have the possibility to create great table settings that can be adjusted for each season. Personally, I love playing with contrasts to create the perfect table setting. When eating out, I want the food to take centre stage through the right interplay of architecture, light design, and light temperature. Cold, dimmed light combined with the warmth of a candle or wall light is my jam!
That’s exactly what I put focus on when designing noma— and I believe it’s been a huge success.