Described as “the world’s first super boutique hotel”, The Londoner has 350 rooms, 35 suites, a ballroom, 7 meeting spaces, 6 bars and restaurants all uniquely designed as well as a whole wellness floor. It spreads on 16 floors, 8 above and 8 below ground; public areas and BOH are mainly underground with no natural light, which makes the building the deepest habitable basement in London and among the deepest in the world, and a challenge from a lighting design point of view.

The Londoner was designed to play into the roots of Leicester Square as London’s historic theatre district. Stylistically, the public areas have been designed with a minimal, cohesive neutral palette, a modern British sensibility, continuous reminders to theatricality and a sense of mystery but still in a fresh way, with nods to British humour especially in the vast and multifaceted art collection. This has also been infused into the guestrooms but in a more subtle way so they can remain evident spaces for comfort and relaxation.

The light concept is based on the main themes of the interior design: theatre, mystery and art collection.

Best example for the sense of theatricality is the ground floor bar, The Stage, which references a living theatre, orchestrated around the box-shaped veiled ceiling with mirrored surfaces for added spectacle. The use of surface and track mounted spotlights and framing projectors reinforces the idea of being “under the spotlights”, like on a real stage; the corrugated velvet walls mimic the curtains of London’s West End theatres, and the light strikes them exactly like you would strike theatre curtains.

The sense of mystery is achieved balancing focus and accents, playing with reflections and shadows, or creating moments of surprise: on the mezzanine level of The Residence, a floor dedicated exclusively to hotel guests featuring three distinctive spaces to enjoy a drink, relax and engage, the Y Bar wood panelling is neutral by day but surprises with vivid, illuminating illusions of artist Andrew Rae’s comic illustrations at night. The light is focused on the tables living the rest of the bar in darkness to leave space for the walls to be lit and be as much visible as possible.

The hotel hosts a huge art collection which has been studied in detail. From flexible spotlight solutions to dedicated picture lights, in both the public spaces and the guestrooms lighting focuses on the artworks to create highlights. One of the best areas that shows this is The Gallery on B3, where artworks will rotate and are alternate to empty frames: plug in spotlights have been used to give maximum flexibility but still reducing the number of fixtures needed, accent the artworks and play with the shadows from the empty frames to connect with the sense of mystery mentioned above.

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