Lighting to the fore in Singapore's Rendezvous04 July 2012
Lighting is "coming of age" in hotel design and the new trend is showcased in the renovation of Singapore's Rendezvous Hotel, according to lighting expert Emmanuel Clair.
Clair is the group chief executive of global design consultancy Light Cibles, which is well known for its work in lighting Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and Mont St Michel in Brittany. More recently the group has moved into hotel design, with commissions at the Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore and now the Rendezvous.
"The Rendezvous is a landmark on Orchard Road and one of the first buildings you see there," says Clair.
"It was important to enhance that landmark status with the lighting, and make some impression around the facade.
"After all, this is one of Singapore's oldest hotels from the same era - or perhaps earlier - than Raffles."
The theme for the Rendezvous renovation was "Asian elegance," a term Emmanuel Clair interpreted as one of "balance."
"It is about including the traditional elements of culture and presenting them in a more modern way," says Clair.
"Elegance to me means peaceful, simple and smart - and not just with the lighting but the overall design."
Features of the lighting include indirect cove lighting for a diffused uniform ambition in the reception lobby, visible from the courtyard. Accent spot lights, seamless wall washers and a backlit feature wall made with Southeast Asian handmade tiles are additional elements to highlight the design features. The existing lighting was also upgraded through more advanced technology, such as the use of LED projectors.
One of the features of the Rendezvous design is the courtyard which joins the heritage listed original building with the 11 storey residential wing which was added at a later date.
Here, eleven projectors placed on the rooftop shine down through the skylight glass ceiling to create a natural shadowed effect mirroring the trees from Orchard Road. The idea is to create a fresh feeling of moonlight through the trees, and is visible from the street outside.
"I think quite a few people are talking about this in Singapore at the moment," says Emmanuel Clair.
In industry terms, Clair sees lighting as growing in importance in hotel design, and says many cutting edge hotels around the world are looking to lighting to create a different ambience.
"This is a very new profession for hotels," he says.
"In the entertainment industry, it has been around for a long time but not for hotels."
Hotel lighting design, however, was always working hand in hand with the overall concept. This was different to some other commissions, such as Notre Dame, where the lighting was more dominant.
"We always deal with the architects and the clients and need to understand them on a basic level as to the direction," says Clair.
"The technique is to follow the design, and not impose one technique for all the hotels."
Straits Trading Company owns the Rendezvous, and commissioned WOW Architects and Light Cibles for the renovation, which was commenced in 2010.