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Westfield, Derby, England

Issue 47 Feb / Mar 2009 : Retail : Mall


Westfield had to start somewhere in the UK and that was Derby. Hoare Lea Lighting was responsible for the complete lighting design package.

Westfield Derby was the first opening for Australian developer, Westfield, in the UK. The Derby scheme, a £340 million redevelopment of the old Eagle Centre, comprises approximately one million square foot of retail, food and leisure space including an 800-seat café, a 12-screen cinema, and 3,700 car park spaces. Anchored by Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, Westfield Derby is now home to more than 175 stores.

Four new malls are located over two retail levels. With a spacious feel and pedestrian “streets”, the environment is comfortable and dramatic.
Hoare Lea Lighting was responsible for the complete lighting design for the scheme, including refurbished (existing) link malls, new malls, cinema, food court and exterior lighting. While not on the same scale, in terms of budget and size, as the more recently opened Westfield London, Westfield Derby demonstrates how, within a closely controlled budget, a striking lighting solution of exceptional quality can be achieved.

The refurbished malls
The refurbished link malls serve as one of the main entrances to the new complex. Approaching from seven directions these successfully connect the new centre with Derby’s existing shopping precincts and transport links. Architecturally the desire was to maintain the refurbished link malls as shopping areas, but brighten the spaces and, by employing a similar lighting narrative, generate links with the new mall areas in the centre of the development. The resulting light, bright spaces assist in creating a unified environment.

The new malls
The new north and south malls are large, glazed, daylit spaces located over two floors with link pods connecting the upper levels. It was important to balance potential contrast issues created by the high levels of daylight penetration. This was achieved by providing surface illumination to high level ceiling features using linear fluorescent on the outer perforated plaster ceiling form. A subtle line of LED light on the opposite side creates a wash of colour to the underside of the wing form. The impact of the coloured light works with the asymmetry of the architecture to create drama and visual interest. The upper malls are illuminated with ceramic metal halide downlights integrated into the architectural detail of the wing elements. 

The lower malls are illuminated by metal halide projectors mounted within the wing shaped ceiling detail above. This was designed to support ease of maintenance in the double-height space while providing a suitable illumination level to the lower areas. Integrated LED uplighting to the underside of the link pods again balances the potential contrast issues with natural light. 

When external daylight levels fall the artificial lighting solution provides a soft background illumination for shoppers with a notable impact from the fluorescent and LED surface treatments. By illuminating the high level surfaces a more intimate shopping experience is created.
Within the east and west malls the impact of daylight is reduced on the lower level.  Here black painted recessed channels were created into which downlighting is mounted – this gives a calm feel to the space. 

The foodcourt
The 800-seat ‘Eat Central’, houses an innovative mix of cuisine. The lighting design has assisted in creating a striking, aspirational space that has attracted restaurateurs new to a shopping mall environment. The interior has an elegant feel within which the various styles of food on offer complement each other. To prevent any one retailer from visually dominating the scene, each was given a palette of lighting equipment and design guides to ensure balance was achieved.

Jonathan Rush, Executive Lighting Designer, comments: “A dramatic large dark ceiling delineates the food court. This has a hardwood lattice at high level between which lighting is suspended. The high level lighting needed an effective downward intensity to illuminate the tables, while providing some upward component to redirect light onto the hardwood lattice. To achieve this, we added a glass diffuser to the spotlights with an etching to the edge. The majority of the projected light is aimed down while some hits the etched outer ring and is directed upwards.”

Linear details and surface treatments provide an effective contrast with the brightness of the mall areas, while colour changing panels around the perimeter walls create a striking visual draw.  Around the back of the food court an eye-catching high level LED feature defines the perimeter. Here the design intent was to play with the contrast between the organic shapes cut out of the panels at the front and the back illuminated coloured panel, which is lit with RGB LED fittings.

The cinema
The 12-screen, 2,500-seat, Cinema de Lux is located adjacent to the food court. A stunning chrome feature chain lit with programmed RGB LEDs, drops from the ceiling and leads visitors from the mall towards the cinema. Art-deco style concentric ceiling coffers create visual brightness and lead visitors to the central lifts and escalators.  The ceiling area is completely solid and so the illumination provides a distinctive feature to the back drop of the daylit spaces located on each side.

The exterior
Hoare Lea Lighting provided a conceptual design for the external feature lighting. This focused on highlighting high-level architectural features and negative surfaces on facades and between shop fronts. Visual impact is therefore created as visitors approach the centre. The design solution was delivered using iGuzzini lighting products – this provided a cost-effective solution.

The transformation
The design maximises daylight and uses energy efficient sources, for example metal halides, fluorescents and LEDs.  Rush explains: “We would expect the target lighting energy use for Part L2A to be between eight and ten watts per square metre. The total energy used to light the new mall areas at Westfield Derby is approximately eight and a half watts per square metre - this figure includes all ambient and feature lighting elements. 

This was facilitated by providing an ambient illumination level of about 200 lux average.  Fortunately, shopping malls like Bluewater, where Spiers and Major Associates broke from the norm and designed to far lower ambient levels, have demonstrated to clients that mall brightness bears little relation to mall ambient lighting level – especially when viewed in the context of modern shop window illumination.” 

Energy efficiency has not been achieved at the expense of visual drama and a major success of the lighting design is its ability to create a high quality shopping experience on a controlled budget. Features, such as the colour changing chain and illuminated ceiling panels, add energy and interest. Together with the light, bright mall space these create an uplifting environment in which it is comfortable to shop.

Westfield Derby has transformed Derby city centre.  As well as attracting restaurateurs new to a mall environment, it has also attracted a high-end cinema, 100 retailers new to Derby, and retailers that have not previously operated outside London.

Nick Davy, Design Group Director for Westfield, said: “Westfield worked hard with Hoare Lea Lighting, delivering a lighting scheme that brings out the true quality of the project - creating distinct zones and atmospheres to enhance the design of the malls, introduce drama and emphasise the design concepts of our tenants and retailers. We’re delighted by the successful outcome.”


Within the new mall areas a line of LEDs (supplied by NJO LEDs) creates a wash of colour to the underside of the wing shaped ceiling

Surface illumination to the high level ceiling is provided by linear fluorescent. The malls are lit by metal halide projectors (supplied by Concord Lighting) mounted within the ceiling details above

A dramatic dark ceiling delineates the food court. This has a hardwood lattice between which lighting is suspended (supplied by Ansorg Lighting)
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