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Basic rules about lighting in a restaurant

Basic rules about lighting in a restaurant

Imagine yourself in a restaurant with your partner. Interior is beautiful, service is excellent, but the lights are so bright that they permanently destroy your idea of enjoying an intimate atmosphere. Great food, good servers and nice interior can not make up for the feeling of discomfort created by the bright lights. In these conditions, food changes color as well, the meat is grey and vegetables are bluish. This is a tragedy, caused entirely by inappropriate lighting.

Lighting is designed for the person

In gastronomy, customer comes first. Above all, it is important that the customer feels good and one of the more important factors in achieving this is lighting. It is designed primarily for the customer, not to fit the architecture of the restaurant, and this is the first and last rule in creating good lighting.

Good lighting involves combining daylight with electric light. Daylight is naturally the most comfortable and the task of the electric light is to imitate it. This combination is crucial in having pleasant lighting.
The color of lights is important too since it influences human emotions and moods. One must be cautious with various colors since the wrong selection can very easily create kitschy or circus-like atmosphere. Colors can be used to accentuate certain details or moments when necessary. They need to be adjusted to the function of the space and the colors of the surrounding environment as well.

Lighting by meals

  • Breakfast: lots of light is needed so that customers can read the morning newspapers while enjoying their coffee and breakfast.
  •  Lunch: if you are a fast food restaurant, a moderate level of lighting will help to create a fast turnover of customers, especially needed for lunch rushes.
  • Dinner: the dinner hour requires a low intensity of light to create an intimate and leisurely atmosphere.

Lighting is defined by the space and its usage

One of the main mistakes owners make is selecting lighting according to the way the fixtures look (their design) and not according to their functionality. The work is also considered done when the lighting is installed, regardless of where and with what purpose.
Success of the lighting in a certain space is measured by impressions and feelings of people for whom the space is designated. Lighting also needs to be integrated with the architecture and the rest of the interior design.
Steps towards good lighting are to define the purpose of the space and how it is used. This dictates the amount of light necessary as well. Next step is selection of fixtures and the shapes best suited for the space, whether they are hanging fixtures, wall fixtures, etc.
In restaurants and other closed establishments, lighting needs to be adjustable, manually or automatically to different occasions, times of day, amount of daylight (seasons), etc.

Lighting is designed primarily for the person, not to fit the restaurant’s architecture or interior design. This is the first and the last rule in creating good lighting in any type of establishment.