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55 Princess Street, Manchester, UK

Issue 82 December / January 2014 : Commercial, Office Accommodation

Lighting Design: Hoare Lea Lighting

55 Princess Street offers quality office accommodation in the heart of Manchester city centre.

Designed by award-winning architects Hodder & Partners, it is arranged over seven storeys comprising 56,476 sqft and features a stunning double height entrance reception, along with a distinctive steel and glass bridge that gives access to the first floor offices.

Asset managed by Cube Real Estate on behalf of Benson Elliot Capital, which acquired the building in 2013, 55 Princess Street has recently undergone somewhat of a revamp - revitalising numerous internal spaces. As part of the revamp, Hoare Lea Lighting was commissioned by 5Plus Architects and Project Manager Powell Williams to create various inspiring lighting solutions.

When it came to redesigning the lighting in the reception and waiting area, Hoare Lea Lighting concentrated on giving the welcome desk more prominance; a reception area after all, forms an integral part of any building and projects a first impression of a business to its visitors.Integral kick-zone lighting from Osram has been fitted to the desk while three Schmitz Box pendants are suspended above the desk illuminating the worktop, while adding brightness and a more dramatic feel to the space.

Along the internal reception wall existing cove detail has been cleaned and re-lamped providing a wash, along with a lit element within the glazed section of the upper walkway - adding vertical illuminance to the ground floor and a lit feature to the first floor walkway. As part of 55 Princess Street’s new look, the waiting area has also been remodelled and now includes a bookcase with lighting on the shelves, adding warmth and giving the space a relaxed, domestic feel. Acoustic treatment to the underside of the first floor walkway has also allowed high-efficiency Etap LED down lights to be integrated with integral emergency lighting in order to raise the ambient internal illumination while maintaining a clean appearance.

One final touch to the reception / waiting area involved linear fluorescent luminaires from Fagerhult, aligned to provide ambient illumination and a bright visible light source along the soffit on the upper level of the reception area. The lighting installation continues from the reception out onto the external canopy, complementing the lines of light and visually linking the internal and external spaces.
Commenting, David Linville-Boud, Executive Lighting Designer at Hoare Lea Lighting said: “Linear LED lines of light supplied by NJO now run from outside, through the front glazing and along the length of the reception. Incorporated into the architectural detail to give a high quality finish, these draw the eye to the reception, announcing that the building is open for business.”

The other main area to benefit from the lighting refit is the office space. Previously, the office floor plates had suffered from high contrast ratios between the glazed sections and solid sections of wall - creating the appearance of a dark space even though the task lighting in place was sufficient.

Linville-Boud explained: “To balance the contrast and raise the visual impression, linear fluorescent wall washing from Luxonic was added to the solid perimeter panels, this reduces the contrast between the panels and the glazing. Careful detailing has allowed the luminaires to be concealed, creating a glow down the panels without the distraction of visible light fittings.”

The other issue with the office space related to years of maintenance, which had resulted in mismatched lamp specifications. The floor plates were therefore re-lamped by Hoare Lea Lighting to ensure the light levels were as they were intended in the original design and that lamp colour temperatures were consistent.

Another element of the lighting upgrade focussed on the light well used to separate  the listed façade from the internal office space - this created a high contrast ratio between the lit floor plates and the light well. High performance floodlights from acdc have been incorporated into the light well – these are mounted on the internal office façade in order to preserve the listed façade and project up the light well illuminating the complex space and eliminating the contrast problem.

For the lift and toilet lobbies Tungsten halogen lighting has been replaced with LED downlights from Luxonic to give continuity to the space. In the toilets specifically, Tungsten halogen downlighters have been replaced with high-efficiency LED fittings from Luxonic as the space appeared gloomy and the technology was out-of-date. Additional fittings have also been installed to complement the architecture, while retained existing lighting has been cleaned and re-lamped.

Last but not least, with the addition of bicycle storage to the office accommodation it was necessary to provide changing facilities and showers at 55 Princess Street and so Hoare Lea Lighting worked alongside colleagues from Hoare Lea, which provided building services in this area, to devise lighting that tied in with the rest of the building. The changing rooms have been designed to complement the refurbished toilets and lighting provided by Luxonic and Photonstar now work to provide a clean and bright space.

Claire Hawkins, Architect, 5Plus Architects, commented on Hoare Lea Lighting’s involvement in the project: “They were an integral part of the team – their design was pivotal in transforming the reception area, increasing the visibility of the building entrance and lifting the office space through an efficient and effective design.”

Summing up, Jonathan Lawes, Director of Cube Real Estate added: “The lighting solution designed by Hoare Lea Lighting has assisted in transforming the whole building and we are delighted with the result.”


55 Princess Street
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