AJ Specification 10.11 – Lighting & Signage
Case studies of No.1 Smithery by Van Heyningen and Haward Architects with Purcel Miller Tritton, the Playboy Club by Jestico + Whiles and King’s College by Mitchell Taylor Workshop
Editorial - Felix Mara
Bad lighting can ruin your building, even if it’s nearly perfect in every other respect.
This year’s Stirling finalists showed consummate skill in their approach to daylight design, ranging from the glassy facades of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Evelyn Grace Academy, to the naturally-lit cycle track of Hopkins Architects’ Velodrome. There was David Chipperfield Architects’ ultra-transparent Folkwang Museum, dramatically-lit interiors at O’Donnell + Tuomey’s An Gaeláras and Bennetts Associates Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres, as well as the cool tranquillity of AHMM’s Angel Building atrium.
Artificial lighting - the focus of this issue - was also impressive, especially the intelligent luminaires specified for the Angel Building’s office spaces. Our main case study this month is the No.1 Smithery at Chatham Historic Dockyard by van Heyningen and Haward Architects with Purcell Miller Tritton, where lighting designers Max Fordham pulled out all the stops to get the best out of a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Next up, and a world away, Jestico + Whiles’ Playboy Club in Mayfair juxtaposes a dark, mysterious ground floor with a lighter piano nobile, using a colourful lexicon of artificial lighting effects. Finally, Mitchell Taylor Workshop’s Kings College Library in Taunton uses handsome luminaires to supplement carefully-orchestrated daylight.
No.1 Smithery, Chatham Historic Dockyard, by Van Heyningen and Haward Architects with Purcel Miller Tritton
No.1 Smithery is a partnership project between the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the National Maritime Museum and the Imperial War Museum. It provides a regional touring exhibition gallery and museum-quality exhibition galleries and includes dedicated storage and curatorial facilities for the museum’s 4,000 ship models.
The building is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade II* listed, and was in a state of advanced dilapidation when the project began. The new insertions provide an archive-quality environment for the collections, including innovative passive stores, while minimising damage to the significant historic fabric that has been carefully restored.
Visitors are brought into close contact with the best ship models. Van Heyningen and Haward closely co-ordinated the exhibition designers, lighting consultants, display case designers, and graphics suppliers to make the experience as seamless, accessible and as rich as possible.
Max Fordham undertook the design of the architectural and exhibition lighting, which included wall-hung artwork, display cases and graphics.
James McCosh, partner in charge, van Heyningen and Haward Architects
Playboy Club, Mayfair, London, by Jestico + Whiles
The new Playboy Club in Mayfair was conceived as a split-stage experience: the ground floor is dark and mysterious, while the upper floor is light and ethereal.
This is expressed on the building’s facade, where light enhances the contrast between the two levels to reflect the activity within.
On the ground floor, light changes from orange to dark red and opaque black folding screens cut with radial patterns of bunny heads, act like Arabic mashrabiya screens.
A perimeter curtain light alters the colour and motifs of the sheer curtain on the first floor, which range from a delicate pale lilac tint to saturated scarlet.
The main entrance is covered by a canopy featuring a pair of red lips, which only appear once light reveals them, allowing the design to remain hidden during daytime. Another innovative lighting motif includes a subtle bunny silhouette, which is projected on the floor from inside the lift.
The smoky atmosphere of the original club is evoked through an abstract motif of tinted smoke across the floors, walls and ceilings, and animated by lighting effects which change their tone and intensity almost imperceptibly.
Stefano Manuelli, project architect, Jestico + Whiles
King’s College, Taunton, Somerset, by Mitchell Taylor Workshop
The new library and classrooms at King’s College, Taunton are the result of three years working closely with the school to develop a brief and then design a learning environment that meets the challenges of contemporary education. The design was born in part from a sustainability agenda that aimed to minimise the energy used to run the building with internal volumes that encourage stack effect natural ventilation, a super insulated shell and the use of natural recyclable materials. The ‘witch’s hat’ shape of the roof presents rooflights to the north, introducing indirect daylight to the library and classrooms.
The challenge of working alongside mid-19th century Grade II listed buildings built of sandstone from long-exhausted quarries was met with the decision to use a mix of four bricks and a lime mortar that reflects the texture and character of the original stone walls.
Piers Taylor, director, Mitchell Taylor Workshop