It may be surprising to learn that even prestigious office developments built in the 21st century are now in need of refurbishment. Whilst many such buildings still deliver visual impact for people walking by, the experiences of those working in these spaces may not be quite so positive. This may be because of how the space is now used and who is using it has changed and the internal areas no longer meet the needs of the current occupiers. In addition, improvements in not only our understanding of the importance of light, but also the advancements made in technology to deliver and manage light levels mean that when a refurbishment is planned, reviewing and refreshing the lighting are key components. Amongst several major sites in London currently undergoing refurbishment is One London Wall Place, in the Barbican, which was designed by Foster & Partners and constructed in 2003 to provide 200,000 ft2 of highly specified office accommodation.
Having already completed a refurbishment of three upper levels in the building, Collins Construction was tasked with rejuvenating the ground and first floor reception areas. The existing main ground floor double height entrance space lacked any inspiring features and had poor inefficient and ineffective lighting provided by ceiling mounted down lights which required regular maintenance due to the metal halide lamps fitted. The goal was to upgrade both reception areas whilst minimising disruption to tenants in the fully occupied building. This meant that one reception had to be kept live throughout construction with a detailed programme in place to ensure this.
LSR Electrical, working in conjunction with Complete Lighting Services (CLS), were tasked with delivering the architects vision of new feature lighting that would look like suspended planting within the main entrance. Daniel Pritchard, Contracts Manager, LSR Electrical explains more; “We have a long- standing working relationship with CLS lighting so we approached them to come up with a custom-built solution to achieve the design. The first step was to build a life size mock up, on site, to illustrate the impact that these bespoke lighting fittings would have in the reception area. We also involved a specialist planting company to mock up the planting selection.”
When designing the luminaires, CLS had to consider not only the height of the reception area but also the high light level output required. Rob Davies, CLS, said; “We came up with a design that featured 10 bespoke luminaires. Fabricated from steel, each measures 1.5m square, is 300 mm deep and when the planting is included weighs 115k. Each luminaire is suspended six meters above ground level, with a set of 8 suspension wires.” Offering far greater energy efficiency and performance than the previous metal halide fittings, the new lights contain Tridonic‘s proven – LLE 24x560mm 1300lm ADV 5 linear LED board along with the associated LCA 50w one4all driver. Together these components not only deliver high colour consistency, flexible configuration and improved energy efficiency but they also deliver a minimum of 72,000 hours of light and carry Tridonic’s five-year guarantee, negating the need for regular maintenance. However, the faux plants supplied by Fake It Flowers Ltd and installed within removable trays, will still require dusting once a year!
“There is no doubt that the new lighting design has provided a real feature to a once empty space and draws the attention of passers-by as well as those entering the building and using the escalators to reach the upper floors. The new lighting has improved the environment and provides consistent and correct lighting levels;” commented Pritchard. The full refurbishment project was valued at £1.3 million and was completed in the summer of 2020.
So, whilst London offices may not be quite as busy as they used to be, those currently using One London Wall Place, or planning to return, after months of home working, are assured of a bright welcome.