Before and after last night’s party for Kristin Scott Thomas, I spent some time strolling around the grounds of the Biltmore Santa Barbara. What an au natural, almost spookily soothing vibe I found. For the designers of this old-world, Spanish-styled establishment have decided to use an outdoor lighting scheme that is quite radical — a scheme that has just about disappeared from the nocturnal American landscape — disappeared from the areas outside nearly every hotel, McMansion, condo complex and shopping mall.
When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, the Biltmore Santa Barbara — are you sitting down? — not only accepts the absence of sunlight, but casts a beautiful spell by embracing it with only a very few amber-toned, ankle-high lights — more lanterns than lamps — punctuating the darkness. They don’t light the place up like a fucking medium-security state prison. They actually let the darkness alone.
Which invites the obvious question, “What is their problem?” Don’t these guys realize that the vast majority of American consumers demand that every last area in which a customer might sit or walk during the nighttime hours (including parking lots) has to be floodlit within an inch of its life? Scary life forms can lurk in dark corners, and therefore all darkness must be vanquished. The lighting aesthetic of a big-league baseball field during a night game must be observed from coast to coast. And if advocates of this all-floodlit, all-the-time aesthetic want to protect themselves, they need to marshall their forces in order to keep this nutbag Biltmore Santa Barbara aesthetic from catching on.
Am I right or am I right?