The Aviator – Farnborough

The Aviator

The hotel, developed by Dakota Hotels as operators, occupies the site of the former RAF Officers Mess at Farnborough Airfield. A combination of colour and white light emphasizes the dramatic atrium and façade architecture enhancing the form, transforming the day time vista into a spectacular lure of light and form by night.


The main staircase leading to a succession of balconies was the emphasis of the hotel upon entry. It was unusual in its organic shape, as each floor above was formed as a circle, narrowing towards the top where the eye was met with a shallow domed ceiling.

This organic shape proved challenging, as light fittings needed to be placed out of sight. It was not desirable to have any light fittings suspended or cantilevered; as such an integrated recessed lighting design solution was required.


LED technology was used, as it is linear in shape. It also allowed for a slim line architectural detail to be created, to house the light fittings.

The viewing angles were calculated from each level, looking down towards the base of the staircase, as well as considering the view looking up from the base of the staircase.  Furthermore, the view across each level was also considered. As the light fitting was successfully placed out of sight, it could be angled at the desirable level, allowing light to flow across the curve at the base of each cove.

The correct angle of light ensured a soft graze of light, which in turn created a gentle shadow. This formed a spectacular lighting effect, enhancing the architecture within which the energy efficient LED light fitting was placed.


Tanya was responsible for the lighting design of the featured project while director of GIA Lighting


TAG Farnborough Enterprises Ltd


Hamiltons Architects


2007 – 2008


Farnborough, United Kingdom