9 Interiors From Around the World That Stand Out Because of Lighting

From Wuhan, China, to Los Angeles, Metropolis highlights three lighting strategies that bring work, retail, and hospitality spaces to life.

Throughout the month of April, Metropolis has explored interior design around the globe, honing in on the lighting strategies designers use to establish wayfinding, foster connection to nature, and add character to spaces. Here are nine projects that prove that lighting can elevate an interior from good to great:

Strategy #1: Marking Space

At This Bookstore in Wuhan, China, Light Represents Knowledge and Emotion
Hubei Foreign Language Book Store | Wutopia Lab with Gradient Lighting Design | Wuhan, China, 2019
A book is an entire world. And for Chinese architecture firm Wutopia Lab, bookstores are also complex lands in themselves—places in the city that help shift perspective and “light up our lives,” according to founder and chief architect Ting Yu. In renovating the 108,000-square-foot Hubei Foreign Language Bookstore in Wuhan, the firm first considered light’s symbolic nature. Read More >

Grt Georgie Interiors Dining Room 116 R3
Courtesy Nicole Franzen

Warm Light and Low-Glare Create a Cozy Environment at this Dallas Eatery
Georgie | GRT Architects with Dot Dash Lighting Design | Dallas, 2019
There is a certain stereotype surrounding steakhouses: low lighting, dark finishes, and a decidedly masculine clientele. For Georgie, a new meat-centric restaurant in Dallas, GRT Architects and Dot Dash Lighting Design set out to challenge some of these assumptions. “We did not want to design a kind of a cave with dark finishes as the go-to,” says architect and founding partner Rustam Mehta. Read More >

More from Metropolis

LTL Architects
Courtesy Michael Moran/OTTO

Lighting Adds to the Graphic Quality of New York’s Poster House
Poster House | LTL Architects with Lumen Architecture | New York, 2019
The anomalous double-height through-block space of the Poster House in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood is sundered as if by a giant stylus pen. One side of this diagonal demarcation preserves 19th-century architectural details—shallow barrel vaults, unvarnished brick, cast-iron columns, maple flooring—while the other is rendered in smooth concrete and climate-conditioned for the presentation of graphic works. Read More >

Strategy #2: Mimicking Nature

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Courtesy Stijn Bollaert

A Pavilion Where Lighting Mimics Branches, Leaves—and Chipmunks
Park Pavilion for Hoge Veluwe National Park | De Zwarte Hond, Monadnock, and Vos Interieur with Beersnielsen Lighting Designers | Otterlo, the Netherlands, 2019
In the middle of Hoge Veluwe National Park in Otterlo, the Netherlands, an inviting pavilion draws visitors out of the shady forest and into a bright, shimmering interior, which includes a restaurant, shop, and education area. The building, which was designed by De Zwarte Hond and Monadnock with interiors by Vos Interieur, is brought to life by a biophilic lighting installation by Beersnielsen Lighting Designers. Read More >

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Courtesy Garrett Rowland

In Lighting Wells Fargo’s Offices, Kugler Ning Foregrounds Natural Rhythms
Wells Fargo Offices at 30 Hudson Yards | Switzer Group with Kugler Ning Lighting Design | New York City, 2019
In workplace design, circadian lighting is often at the forefront of the discussion, challenging practices like Kugler Ning Lighting Design to rethink how light supports the body’s natural rhythms. In designing a system for the LEED Gold–certified Wells Fargo offices in New York City’s Hudson Yards, the firm adopted energy-efficient lighting that also promotes health. Read More >

David Adjaye Pink LightingThis Pink Concrete Boutique by David Adjaye Was a Headache to Light
The Webster | Adjaye Associates with BOLD | Los Angeles, 2019
Any discussion of The Webster, a plush boutique at Los Angeles’s high-end Beverly Center shopping mall, is bound to begin with a few excited words about its color. It is pink, very pink. But applied to concrete—a rosy tint was added to the mix—the shade takes on a slightly somber disposition, signaling both gentility and toughness, according to The Webster’s architect David Adjaye. Read More >

Strategy #3: Lighting as Character

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This Hollywood Coworking Space Feels Like a Giant Terrarium

Second Home | SelgasCano with Doctor Cato | Los Angeles, 2019
Second Home, a British communal workspace provider founded in 2013, distinguishes itself from competitors through its serious commitment to architecture. Each of the company’s six locations was designed by the Spanish firm SelgasCano, all in a hall-of-mirrors idiom. At the new Hollywood spot, the work areas are not arrayed vertically, as is the case at the London and Lisbon outposts, but horizontally: 60 lily pad–like pods augment a renovated base building from the 1960s. Read More >

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This Helsinki Office Is Both Smart and Playful

K-Campus | JKMM Architects | Helsinki, 2019
An early landmark of Helsinki’s humming Kalasatama “smart city” district, the K-Campus (so named after its owner, the commodities company Kesko) is alleged to be the “smartest office building” in Finland, citing the use of AI in building operations from heating and cooling to lighting. Designed by local firm JKMM Architects, the project is a tidy summation of recent workplace trends, boasting a fitness room, healthcare spaces, breakout spaces, and multiple “working cafés.” Read More >

Kinzo Suhrkamp 2096 Edit
Sebastian Dorken

The Lighting at This Publisher’s HQ Was Designed for Easy Reading
Suhrkamp Verlag | Kinzo with Lightnet | Berlin, 2019
When Suhrkamp Verlag, a prominent German publishing house, approached Berlin-based architecture firm Kinzo to design the interiors of its new office, it knew it needed two things—shelves to store and display thousands of books, but also lighting that would be easy on the eyes during long days of reviewing manuscripts. Read More >

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