Into the Light


Singapore-based lighting specialist, Project Lighting Design (PLD) brings the best out of iconic buildings and stunning interior spaces at Chao Phraya Estate.


Project Lighting Design (PLD) is the Singapore-based lighting specialist assigned with bringing the best out of the iconic buildings and stunning interior spaces at Chao Phraya Estate to offer residents, guests and visitors an exceptional waterfront experience long after the sun sets.

Boasting a team of 14 designers who collectively posses the skills and capabilities required to work on a broad spectrum of projects, PLD creatively brings light to hotels, retail centres and leisure environments, as well as working on exhibitions, transport, commercial and industrial projects. The team has worked in over 20 countries and many of its commissioned projects have received awards for their design-conscious, environmental friendly and sustainable lighting solutions.

Stephen Gough is Managing Director and Principal Designer at PLD and has 25 years of experience in Asia’s lighting industry. Stephen has designed the lighting for landmark projects throughout the region, and he is ready to rise to the challenge of lighting what will soon be one of Southeast Asia’s most illustrious luxury mixed-use residential and hospitality developments.

“When designing for hospitality and residential environments we believe the lighting should seamlessly compliment the interiors. We pay a great deal of attention to ensure the balance of light is correct, and by this we mean the use of correct amounts of light. It is equally important to identify areas which may not require light and we also introduce lighting as a series of layers. First we consider the location and quantity of decorative lighting such as floor lamps,

table lamps, wall mounted fixtures, and chandeliers. We then deal with architectural lighting elements like down lights and cove lights, followed by other lighting details such as light within furniture, cabinetry or display cases. Essentially we want to create subtle contrast and drama. We light the key interior features, furniture groupings and artwork, and also emphasise fabrics and textures, for instance drapery or wall coverings.” When it comes to interior and exterior lighting, Stephen believes the same fundamentals apply to each type of location, although the practical challenges are very different. “When designing for exteriors and landscaped areas, light should be sensitively applied to trees

and plants, water features and pools, as well as focal areas such as outdoor art or sculptures. We also have to pay careful attention to the hardscape and paving, and to steps or changes in levels to ensure sufficient light is provided for safety.”

Expansive interior spaces can also present an interesting challenge for lighting designers, especially when the aim is creating synergy between different areas within a large space. PLD approaches this by establishing a hierarchy of the lighting within a large room. “We downplay the ambient light, giving precedence to the more important features such as art, or areas which may require more light such as a dining area or writing desk. A lighting control system plays a hugely important role in allowing us to adjust lighting levels through dimming. A high quality dimming system is crucial to the success of any high-end hotel or residential space.”

Technical challenges are an integral part of creative lighting design and choosing the right solutions is essential to the process.

“One of the biggest technical challenges for us is just keeping up with the latest technologies available. In the last 10 years architectural lighting has seen enormous changes. Halogen and fluorescent lighting were previously considered conventional light sources, but the arrival of LED lighting technology has completely revolutionised the way we think about light. LED as a lighting tool is available in so many variants in terms of colour, brightness and size, although it is quite difficult to dim and therefore the specifications of the drive components are critical.”

Taking all these defining factors into account, Stephen still believes certain essential ingredients are required to create a harmonious light scheme in a luxury residence or hotel property. An eclectic combination of elements must works together to create the perfect environment.

Table lamps and floor lamps provide general ambient glow and points of interest within ones field of vision. “These fixtures also help to define spaces, for instance the table lamps and floor lamps in a living room may be located on the side tables beside the sofa. In a similar fashion the floor lamp may be located beside a lounge chair and to provide light for reading.”

Chandeliers or pendant lamps help to define areas and spaces. “In large classical rooms we often suggest chandeliers centred over seating groups or dining tables. In more contemporary interiors we also utilise pendant (hanging) lamps as they provide focal points within the spaces and are attractive to look at.

Appropriate, good quality architectural lighting, is a “must have” for all PLD projects. “When we say good quality this encompasses a number of fundamental requirements. Recessed down lights should be the correct size for the ceiling heights of the spaces. We like equipment with deeper reflectors or cones to reduce glare and we often specify louvres in the fixtures to further mitigate any unwanted light. The colour and finish of the down lights should be carefully selected to compliment the ceiling finish and match with other interior finishes. Light is a medium which reacts with surfaces and textures to reveal colour and depth.”

At the Chao Phraya Estate, PLD is working with a world-class team of architects, interior designers and landscape consultants to design and install carefully considered lighting that will transform the spaces and emotionally connect with people.

“The development has so many great spaces for us to work with. Apart from the interior spaces we have paid a lot of attention to the exterior realm. The location beside the river is amazing and we have been working hard to create beautiful, functional night time environments for the residents and the hotel guests. The interior lighting approach to each of the hotels will be very different. One has smaller, more intimate spaces, while the other has more grand architectural volumes. The lighting will be quite different, but the ambience will be a tasteful, beautifully considered illumination of the fabulous interiors.”