By Giacomo Rossi and Giulia Gobino LDT-Lighting Design Team.
For a retail space proper lighting is a key factor in improving customers’ shopping experience and enticing them to spend more time in the store. In this respect, a primary role is played by the Lighting Designer, that is the independent professional that deals with lighting design.
For many kinds of stores, an excellent lighting project is a fundamental part of the overall design. In general, the lighting design of an environment must respond to a series of questions aimed at understanding the particular requirements of a particular space and of the people that visit it.
A careful design project can provide lighting configurations that are able to bring out the character of the space, emphasize the colours and materials of the products on display and entice the viewer to come into the store, look around and make a purchase.
In a typical store there are different environments: windows, dressing rooms, desks and display areas, etc. As each area has specific requirements linked to its set up, the light must be distributed and applied in different ways, addressing each requirement with the right solution.
The primary goal is to guide customers in their complex interaction with the retail space: this begins outside the store with the windows and - only as a result of a positive experience - ends with a sale and the beginning of customer loyalty.
Lighting will have a significant effect on purchasing activities only if it is well designed and planned in collaboration with the architect in charge of the project with the objective of privileging customers’ needs.
The relationship with customers is a key factor in the design of a retail space. In recent years with the introduction of personal devices like smart-phones and tablets, and the development of new data collection and management systems, it is possible to create a direct connection with each single customer. This allows designers to better understand the relationship between users and spaces and plan lighting landscapes specially designed to improve in-store User Experience.
It is a true revolution for retail lighting design, which of course is made possible by the innovation brought by solid-state technology.
Now LED technology allows us to light particular contexts such as architecture, art galleries and retail spaces.
Using LED technology in retail does not only mean “saving on your energy bills”: LEDs have much more to offer than that. This technology allows us to control, miniaturize and direct light where it is most needed with great precision. From the point of view of the design, we can achieve solutions that were previously unthinkable, create lightscapes and choose the exact light spectrum that best fit our requirements.
In particular, thanks to the possibility we have of choosing the right LED for a specific application, now more than ever we can emphasize the particular characteristics of a product more than others: by choosing the colour temperature, the colour rendering and even selecting a specific range of colours, we can emphasize white or warmer tones, reaching a very high colour fidelity when required.
In conclusion, in places dedicated to the sale of products, solid-state technology has made it possible to create previously unimaginable lighting designs. However, any lighting project that uses this technology needs the utmost care and thorough knowledge of some challenging technical aspects, such as the correct heat dissipation and power supply system.
Only a deep knowledge of the above factors, which are functional both to the perception and the use of the retail space, can assist the creation of lighting that is suitable for the sale and purchase of products. In this sense, the skills and expertise of a lighting designer can really make all the difference.