Lighting has become the key element of architecture: Boris Duhamel

by | 16 Feb 2020 | People

Boris Duhamel was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai in Dec 2019. (Photo by Rahul Venkit)

Lighting touches the senses but is too often neglected or taken into consideration too late in a hotel project, says B. Duhamel, CEO, Baseline Lighting Design Studio.

From luxury retail brands to F&B to hospitality, Baseline knows how to light it up.

Baseline Lighting Design Studio was founded in Hong Kong to provide lighting design services for architects, interior designers, property developers and retailers.

In the past four years, the company has been focusing more and more on hospitality, particularly in Southeast Asia and in China.

On the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai 2019, the CEO of Baseline Boris Duhamel spoke exclusively to TOPHOTELNEWS about business success in Asia, and how lighting has become very technical because technology has changed drastically.

On your connection with the hotel industry

Duhamel: My experience with the hospitality industry started with my personal experience as a hotel client. I’ve been in this part of the world for 23 years. So I’ve been traveling extensively and experiencing different chains and brands of hotels. I have experienced many changes in the hotel industry. I’ve travelled for business and leisure in the region; visited resorts, boutique and smaller hotels. It gave me a passion for the hotel industry, especially in Asia.

What lessons have you learned working in this part of the world?

Duhamel: You cannot take this region as a whole. You need to segregate China as China, Japan as Japan, Korea as Korea. Culture is actually the key element to take into account when you want to do business in this part of the world.

Culture now is a mix of tradition and innovation. There is a huge impact of globalization on the new generation. “Generation Z” youngsters are hyper connected online but their cultural influences remain very strong. I think it remains the biggest asset and the biggest barrier to get into this market. I would say from a design point of view, you need to understand the culture in order to adapt your design to the culture. It takes time to develop a good relationship in Asia. Once you gain trust, you will not lose it, I think.

Which cities and regions show exemplary lighting design?

Duhamel: Lighting today is a key element to any space, to any area. Lighting touches people’s feelings and emotions. You’re touching the senses — it’s like perfume. China is exuberant in terms of its lighting in hospitality spaces and in general as well. You look outside in Shanghai or in Beijing — facade lighting and show lighting is all the rage.

Lighting has become the key element of architecture. But it’s too often neglected or coming too late into consideration in a hotel project. Lighting has also become very technical because technology has changed drastically. What we realize is that in a project, what matters is the result. You can’t stop just at the design, so at Baseline we have integrated an engineering department where we develop control systems and do project management for clients and owners.


Duhamel: It was our first time attending TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR. It was a fantastic atmosphere. It’s very casual. You’re meeting people that are passionate. There is a lot of goodwill. People are willing to give tips, advice, and share points of view. It’s very well organized, so it enables people to meet each other in a very short time and helps create a rapport that might last. Besides that, the presentations give us a very good insight into the industry, trends and future potential.

Boris Duhamel was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai 2019. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world in 2020, contact TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.



The TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR is a series of one-day conferences around the world for hospitality leaders.