DesignMastering the Art of Lighting in Commercial Interior Design

Mastering the Art of Lighting in Commercial Interior Design

Lighting in commercial interior design is not merely a functional element of the space. It is an art form that can transform the atmosphere, enhance the visual appeal, and influence the behavior of occupants. Whether it’s the inviting ambiance of a hotel lobby, the stimulating environment of an office, or the inviting warmth of a restaurant, lighting plays a crucial role in shaping the overall experience.

Jasen Chia, our Lead Designer, delves into its pivotal role and shares insights on addressing lighting challenges across diverse environments.

The importance of lighting in commercial spaces serves three primary purposes:

  1. General illumination provides overall visibility and creates a sense of openness.
  2. Task illumination focuses on specific areas where precise work or visual tasks are performed.
  3. Accent illumination highlights architectural details, artwork, or specific areas to draw attention.

The color temperature of lighting also plays a significant role in influencing human behavior. Warm white light, with its cozy and inviting ambiance, is ideal for spaces where relaxation and comfort are desired, such as hotel lobbies, spas, and bedrooms. On the other hand, cool white light promotes alertness and energy, making it suitable for workspaces, gyms, and commercial kitchens.

Addressing Lighting Challenges in Different Commercial Spaces

Each type of commercial space presents unique lighting challenges:


Balancing task lighting for focused work with general illumination for overall visibility is essential in offices. Overhead LED lights can create harsh glare and reduce productivity.


Retail spaces require a balance between highlighting product displays and creating a welcoming ambiance. Accent lighting can draw attention to merchandise, while dimmer general lighting creates a more relaxed shopping experience.


Collaborating with the award-winning Lighting Design Atelier (LDA), we crafted the perfect lighting ambience for KUN, a Japanese omakase restaurant pictured above.

Lighting in high-end restaurants and hotels goes beyond aesthetics; it’s a strategic dance of illuminance. The question isn’t just about how a space looks but how it feels. Lux, a measure of illuminance, becomes a key player. High-end establishments masterfully manipulate illuminance levels, playing with dim lighting to create an unhurried and relaxed pace, guiding patrons subtly toward key areas. It’s an artful orchestration, ensuring that every corner is not just seen but experienced, making the journey through these spaces not just visually stunning but emotionally captivating.

The benchmark of color temperature and illuminance for these establishments is often set to emulate candlelight. Candlelight, with its warm and soft glow, is not only flattering on food but also on patrons, especially women. This subtle yet intentional choice adds an extra layer of sophistication to the dining experience, creating an environment where every moment feels curated and every detail is thoughtfully considered. Lighting has the power to influence behaviours and when not done purposefully can lead to discomfort for users.

Jasen shares with us a quick guide to navigating color temperature.



In lighting, color temperature sets the vibe. Here’s a quick rule: below 4000k brings warmth, higher gets sunlit vitality.

Warm (Below 4000k):
Think cozy, amber hues—perfect for a homey feel or enhancing colors, like the warmth of fruits in a supermarket.

Cool White (Around 4000k):
Balancing warmth and vibrancy, ideal for spaces needing both. Picture a slightly cozier office or a supermarket, making fruits pop while maintaining the crispness of greens.

Color temperature isn’t just about light; it’s about shaping the space’s character.

The Future of Lighting in Commercial Spaces

Smart lighting and AI are set to revolutionize commercial lighting design and are expected to go mainstream in residentials too. Smart lighting systems allow users to control and automate lighting settings, creating customized ambiances for different times of day or activities. AI-powered lighting systems can sense occupancy, movement, and even voice commands, adapting lighting settings to optimize user comfort and energy efficiency.

As these technologies mature and become more affordable, they will become increasingly prevalent in commercial spaces. Smart and AI-controlled lighting will enhance the user experience, reduce energy consumption, and elevate the overall design and functionality of commercial spaces. We also foresee prices for these technologies dropping once it become more common in spaces.


An Interview with Tingyu, Lighting Designer at Lighting Design Atelier on Her Approach to Sustainability and Functionality in Light Design

Lighting Design Atelier is an award-winning company that specializes in creating innovative and impactful lighting designs for commercial spaces. We recently spoke with Tingyu, a lighting designer, to gain insights into her approach to sustainable and functional lighting design.

Question: Sustainable and energy-efficient lighting solutions have become increasingly important. How do you incorporate eco-friendly lighting options into your designs for commercial spaces?

“As a lighting designer, we must keep in pace with the market trends changes. Now, lighting technology are not only more environment friendly and energy-efficient; it also helps to adjust the environment for health benefits and comfort, improving one’s health and wellness. We must consider both functional and aesthetic aspects when selecting light fixtures, and how these elements contribute to the overall mood and purpose of the space.”

Question: In commercial spaces, there’s often a balance to be struck between aesthetics and functionality. Can you share your approach to creating lighting designs that are both visually appealing and practical?

“Lighting is a crucial element to all interior space, as it affects the overall visual appeal and mood of the environment. Our principal is always to use the right amount of light. To illuminate the space and bring it to life and draw attention to create an impact, allowing people to appreciate the beauty of the space. Never over light space.”

At AR-kee Design Studio, we believe that lighting is more than just illumination. It is an art that transforms atmospheres, enhances visuals, and influences behavior. From inviting hotel lobbies to stimulating offices and warm restaurants, lighting plays a pivotal role in shaping experiences.

Discover the AR-kee Difference. Contact us now to schedule a consultation and start your transformation.