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Architectural Lighting Design Motel Style Retro Interior Mexican Restaurant Nulty

Chilango, Camden

Best burritos in town

The passion behind Mexican brand Chilango is infectious. So when a new branch in Camden was on the cards with a slightly different interior design to the other locations we’d worked on, we couldn’t wait to get involved.

With more of a run-down motel look and feel we set to work on an architectural lighting design solution that would outdo the brief. We used deliberately dated retro light fittings, bright neon signage and lights in ceiling fans…which in turn create an atmosphere akin to that of a blisteringly hot climate. The lighting scheme might appear dated but the latest technology was employed throughout with most luminaires using LED lamp sources and everything’s low energy and cost effective.

We love a design challenge and we certainly had one due to the lack of space. But, using some trusty techniques we integrated lighting into the skylight void to visually increase ceiling height and used light features on the wall – this made things more permeable, consequently drawing the eye through to the back of the restaurant.

This is one of the chain’s late night venues so the right scene had to be set no matter what time of day – a lighting control system did the trick and gives the client the flexibility they need. On top of this, table lamps and shelf lighting add low-level illumination when the ambient lighting is dimmed after dark.

Images: Nulty


How lighting helps set the scene for the authentic motel experience. Light fittings considered dated and unfashionable by modern standards are used in a way to help reinforce the brand concept, giving customers a taste of a Mexican holiday, Chilango style.

— Paul Nulty

Project Team

Paul Nulty


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