The bespoke lighting crafted for a Melbourne restaurant

Written by

12 March 2024


4 min read

Overlooking the city’s skyline, the Atria restaurant atop Melbourne’s Ritz-Carlton hotel has been carefully curated with captivating, custom-made lights.

Lighting undoubtedly plays an important role in interiors – layers carefully designed to perform on a functional level, with task lighting illuminating key areas and accent and ambient lighting adding to the atmosphere and personality of a space. 

When expertly configured, architectural lighting plans enhance the space’s user experience, aesthetics and functionality – an essential in restaurants. 

A collaborative effort between lighting manufacturer ArkLED and The Flaming Beacon, a lighting design consultancy specialising in the design of exclusive hospitality environments, the lighting at the Ritz-Carlton’s Atria restaurant elevates the sophisticated interior developed by local design studio Layan.

The Atria restaurant is on level 80 of the Ritz-Carlton in Melbourne.

A nod to Art Deco and Art Nouveau, the space is a fusion of old and new – opulence combined with contemporary accents. 

“The client’s brief was to craft the finest dining experience in Melbourne, something achievable given the enviable location on the 80th floor,” says Andrew Jaques, director at The Flaming Beacon.

Part of the brief was for the Atria restaurant to bring a unique experience to guests – one that differs from the hotel’s. 

“The hotel vibe is calm, light and classically contemporary, so we, along with the project’s interior design firm Layan Design Group, also from Melbourne, wanted the Atria to feel dramatic, textured, and edgy-contemporary. 

“The client also made it clear that the view was extremely important at night, so the lighting needed to have minimal impact on this view. To avoid veiling reflections in the floor-to-ceiling glazing, we worked with Layan to introduce blinds that would drop down to a 3m datum at night to prevent reflections of any high-level illuminated object.”

The project is a collaboration between ArkLED, The Flaming Beacon and Layan.
A custom-made chandelier by ArkLED runs the length of the dining space.

A final request from the client was to introduce chandeliers to “bring some glamour”.

“We knew straight away that we didn’t want to design a traditional chandelier, but instead wanted to create something that connected better to the volume, interior palette and theme of the restaurant,” says Jaques. 

“The restaurant was originally intended to serve only seafood and we were inspired by the idea of dining under the water, so the idea for the 18m-long sculptural light was to cantilever 74 jellyfish-like hand-cast glass lenses off a central spine. Each glass, embedded with random bubbles, simultaneously projects rippled patterns on the surrounding upper walls and creates sparkles below.”

“We knew straight away that we didn’t want to design a traditional chandelier, but instead wanted to create something that connected better to the volume, interior palette and theme of the restaurant,” says Jaques.

Custom-made by ArkLED, the sculptural chandelier features three sizes of glass lenses and three lengths of cantilevered rods in parachute-like forms, each lens with a corresponding mini light calibrated to suit its focal length. 

“We designed the light based on the requirements of the structural engineer and have allowed for flexibility when replacing the lights,” says Romain Machefer, principal at ArkLED

“Each piece of glass has a light source inside that illuminates the glass. The idea was to be able to easily replace any of these light sources with the way the pendant is wired and designed. The glass and parachutes are screwed onto the structure and can be individually removed to directly access the light source and components.

“Working to the constraints set by the engineer, the idea was to be able to have different pieces that look like one. That was the biggest challenge – creating one large structure that looks like one continuous piece.”

“Each piece of glass has a light source inside that illuminates the glass,” says Machefer.

Read more: Innovative lighting applications to elevate your home or business

While the sculptural lighting piece is the highlight, the rest of the restaurant and its different zones have been illuminated by focusing light onto key surfaces. This includes the wine display and the bronze carved walls and ceiling.

Accent lights have also been incorporated to display a soft pool of light at each table for an intimate dining experience. 

These pools of light come from various sources including custom bar counter lights inspired by a 1970s aesthetic, wall lights and portable battery lights. 

Different zones are illuminated by custom bar counter lights, wall lights and portable battery lights.
Each light has been designed to complement the overall mood of the restaurant.

By working together to create bespoke architectural lighting designed for the Ritz-Carlton, ArkLED and the design team have created a stunning, moody space that perfectly fits the client’s brief.

“We delivered on the client brief to create a distinctly unique and dramatic space that doesn’t overshadow the spectacular view,” says Jaques. “Working with Romain at ArkLED was a pleasure as he equally felt compelled to deliver a high-quality result.”

Machefer’s advice for clients and design professionals wanting to work with ArkLED to bring their architectural lighting ideas to life is to find the right manufacturer and take time to understand the process.

“We provide samples of everything to make sure designers are happy with the finishes and how the lighting will work.”

If you’re looking for a lighting manufacturer to craft bespoke designs for your next residential or commercial project, contact ArkLED to learn more.

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