by Rachel 05 December 2011
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    Lighting Design International were given the rare opportunity to help develop the visionary new ESPA life flagship spa with a complementary lighting scheme which was energy efficient as well as being respectful to the original features of the historical existing building.

    Design Brief
    The brief was to design a scheme which complemented the differing mood of each of the four individually designed floors. The client experience was to be the focal point of the design, with mood and ambience being the driving forces of both the interior design and the lighting design. To aid GA Design and ESPA to achieve their visionary goals in the spa, LDI chose predominantly concealed LED lighting to create the right atmosphere. The selection of finishes was principally kinon, textured stone, marble and rich fabrics, and the lighting needed to complement these by highlighting their richness without taking any attention away.

    To achieve the specific brief, LDI specified concealed LED lighting throughout to create the right atmosphere. The choice of finishes, being predominantly highly reflective kinon, proved to be a challenge in terms of our aim to conceal the light sources. Endless mock-ups and light tests were carried out which proved invaluable to confirm to the client that our complex set of installation details were essential.

    Lighting highlighted the various artworks and sculptures throughout the project and gave us an opportunity to create focal points for the client to move around the space. Long sweeping waves were up lit to highlight the texture in the otherwise simple entrance corridor, and the rare use of spotlights were cleverly positioned to pinspot white sculptures which stand out against the black interior.

    Success of the scheme
    The four floors of the scheme are designed to each have a different feel, with the finishes becoming darker as you go further underground. The lighting scheme reflects this concept by the lighting focusing on the finishes and so highlighting the different moods of each floor. The joining feature of the spa is an exquisite marble staircase which is lit entirely from first floor to sub-basement with the same lighting detail concealed at the sides which, when added to the rich, reflective surfaces gives the client a sense of floating. This one detail pulls the lighting scheme of the whole project together. Clever use of diffusers conceal the light source, softening the lighting effect.

    The sub-basement is almost entirely black with a stainless steel pool. Again downlights were predominantly avoided. Instead uplights were specified to light frosted glass fins, linear ceiling slots to pick up the grain in the marble walls, and fibre optic uplights in the base of the pool which create a mesmerising pattern on the ceiling with the ever moving water in the pool.

    LDI were conscious of energy efficiency throughout, not only because of the ethical values of ESPA and their clientele, but because the full lighting scheme would be used from 6.30am to 10pm, with the gym being 24 hour use, meaning un-interrupted running times. The total installed load of the project is 20.6 W/m², and with the addition of a carefully designed and commissioned lighting control system, we calculated a LENI result of 95 which compares favourably to the benchmark values set out in the European Standards for the energy performance of buildings.

    Lighting Designer: Ellie Greisen, Senior Designer

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