Set against the backdrop of the Chao Phraya, this hotel reflects the essence of the magnificent river and Thai culture. An interesting challenge for the lighting design team was presented in the lighting of several large-scale art installations. Working closely with the local artist, we were able to provide tailored lighting solutions to enhance the narrative behind each art installation.

In the 9m high arrival lobby, a giant art feature – simulating folds of drapery and etched with white elephant motifs – towers over a reflective pool. The feature’s verticality is accentuated with discreet spotlighting with spread lenses, concealed in a deep narrow slot. We wanted to allude to natural light, as if pouring through a forest or valley, and bring out the textures and undulation of the folds. To enhance the sacred Thai motifs of white elephants, underwater uplighting was applied without the view of luminaires disrupting the reflections. Many lighting mock-ups were done at the artist’s workshop and on site.

At the reception, a textured mural reminiscent of a richly coloured sunset provides a stunning backdrop. A mix of both grazing and projected lighting techniques enhances textures and colours. For a suspended feature with petal-like glass discs, we created dappled lighting effects with miniature downlights that are barely noticeable.

Lighting is choreographed along a lounge corridor, where layers of lighting techniques create visual interest and an intimate ambiance. Small uplights highlight the sculptural shape of the bar counter, while handmade ceramic pendants cascade over its corners. Soft and diffused linear details uplight drapery. Downlights are kept small and used sparingly to light displays of liquor, paintings and accessories.

This culminates in a lacquered wall art inlaid with a golden river, in which we concealed small luminaires creating brushstrokes of light, to mimic daylight dancing off a river as seen from the sky.

With reflective pools weaving throughout the property, the interior lighting and its reflections are crucial to the exterior night-time environment. Pristine ceilings are essential to creating reflections free of light flares. Therefore, decorative lights and uplighting serve as key lighting methods, allowing surfaces to be gently lit and reflected in water. Deep recess downlights highlight furniture and art but are kept minimal, with small, efficient fixtures chosen. To blend the appearance of downlights into the ceiling, trims are matched to the grey ceiling hues. Darklight reflectors are in gold – a small touch paying homage to traditional Thai art and architecture.

Decorative lights are important to the lighting scheme, and we directed the lighting behaviour of every piece. Light sources are low wattage, discreet or concealed carefully, so as not to distract from fixtures themselves. Examples of these can be found in the guestroom lighting design, where bespoke contemporary pieces bear subtle nuances of Thai influence, be it a laser cut motif or the use of gold leaf.

2700K lighting with CRI 90+ is used for architectural lighting, with a subtle shift to 2200k in decorative light sources to evoke dimmed tungsten. For fine dimming calibration and optimisation of dimmable zones, we opted for DALI dimming by a lighting control system. High-quality drivers with power factor above 0.9 allowed us to achieve low dimming and smooth transitions between lighting scenes which morph from day to night.

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