The Department Store
It is rare to be invited to participate in a project where, despite the intrinsic challenges, both you and your client share the same will - to do things differently. Squire and Partners, a 220 strong architectural design practice, had outgrown its base in Kings Cross and wanted to make a wholesale shift from the brightly lit workspace environment, to one that injected a different energy into the new HQ; a dilapidated Edwardian department store in Brixton. A delicate balance was sought between the needs of people, the ambiance and luxury craftsmanship.
Studio Fractal applied a multi-faceted philosophy to the lighting, fulfilling technical and sustainable needs, whilst utilising skilled craftsmanship and creating aesthetic appeal. We appreciated that Squire and Partners would detail their environment to perfection; it is what they do. So our role as the lighting designer was to complement and enhance those intense levels of precision.
As you walk through the repurposed building with its original parquet flooring, high ceilings and striking wall art left by recent inhabitants, you are gently guided by fluted glass pendants - selected for their period style. These bespoke globes (supplied by Original BTC) are used throughout the interiors in the form of pendant, wall and freestanding arrangements. Limited edition, hand-blown glass pendants from Czech glass studio Lasvit, hang above the bespoke ‘haberdashery’ style reception desk.
A pallet of brass and black materials extrapolated from the surrounding architectural materials, informed the aesthetics of the Flos pendant system developed with Atrium. We adapted this to provide ambient and accent lighting throughout workstations, meeting rooms, event spaces, the café and terrace bar – echoing the original department store lighting approach whilst providing unobtrusive enhancement of building, materials and task areas. A final layer of low profile LED modules integrated into suspended shelving, provide additional task lighting, which staff can adjust to suit their individual needs and preferences.
The Department Store, with its multifarious finishes, expertly curated bespoke furnishings and undulating levels of light, satisfy the human compulsion for unique, stimulating surroundings. It sets the standard for future office environments; luxurious and exquisitely crafted, with people and creativity at the hear.
Photography by James Jones
Film by Gareth Gardener and Squire and Partners