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Liverpool ONE, Liverpool, England

Issue 47 Feb / Mar 2009 : Retail : Mall

Lighting Design: BDP LIGHTING

BDP Lighting has created the masterplan for the UK’s capital of culture’s iconic retail quarter, linking together important areas of the city.

Liverpool ONE is a large scale retail led regeneration project that has transformed and revitalised Liverpool’s City Centre. Recently opened, the 42-acre area of redevelopment complete, nearly 1.4 million square feet of retail space opened to visitors, reconnecting the city’s shopping centre with its historic waterfront.

The scheme completed in what was an exciting year for Liverpool, positioning it as one of Europe’s premier cities but also creating a legacy that goes beyond its title as the European Capital of Culture. For an image conscious city already famed for its style and culture, a unique lighting scheme was needed to showcase this new urban centre.

This development of streets, spaces and new and refurbished buildings consists of a 14 screen multiplex cinema, 230,000 sq. feet of restaurants, cafes and bars together with more than 600 new apartments, two hotels, offices and a reconstructed five acre park with a new public transport interchange. Connecting these buildings and public realm areas across the entire site is a lighting scheme designed by BDP headed by lighting director Laura Bayliss.

As Laura explains: “It was important for us to create a sense of intimacy and human scale in such a large development. With so many different architects and architectural styles the lighting played an important role in pulling the whole scheme together in a holistic and cohesive way.”

Being involved from the outset, BDP’s Manchester based lighting team were able to implement a lighting scheme that would link all aspects of the masterplan. With 36 new buildings and 26 different architects involved in the development, a well planned strategy was essential to link aspects of the masterplan seamlessly. Part of the designers’ task was to also link the lighting of the redeveloped area with the existing lighting schemes of the surrounding areas and take into account Liverpool City Council’s own lighting strategy. The proximity of existing lighting schemes inevitably impacted on the lighting design of the new quarter and it was important to create clear visual links between the development and existing areas making it an ultimately safer place.

The BDP designed masterplan separates the development area extending from the Mersey to the city centre into character zones or ‘quarters’, each with its own specific character, function and architectural features. The lighting scheme worked to highlight specific nodal points and key architectural facades in these different quarters.

To ensure the lighting works in harmony with each building or area’s ‘personality’ but also as a coherent masterplan, Bayliss and her team collaborated with the varied group of architects at the earliest design stages to integrate lighting into the architecture. A ‘no clutter’ approach to the design was also important to BDP and by incorporating light fittings seamlessly into the public realm such as benches and handrails, the lighting creates minimal visual impact during the daytime hours but maximum impact at night.

The main theory that underpins the lighting masterplan however is based on the ‘phototropic effect’. In the same way that plants are drawn towards the light, the lighting designers at BDP saw that people are too. This theory informed decisions on which facades should be lit, which routes should have a cool brighter light over other routes and considered light in relation to people and vehicular movement.

At the points where the roads and highways border onto the new landscape areas and the majority of the traffic is vehicular like Strand Street, cool colour temperature metal halides light sources were used that local authority engineers were willing to adopt after installation.

Lighting is also used to affect and encourage movement between previously unrelated areas and to certain aspects of the scheme. An example of this can be seen on the Cinema bridge link. Careful integration of lighting equipment into the underside and perimeter of the bridge draws attention to the Liverpool ONE visitor centre below.

Street and feature lighting at the heart of the new shopping area connects two levels of shops with an esplanade on the top level. The esplanade can be used as an ancillary event space for the restaurants and serves as an entrance to the galleria and links the area to the Park and leisure facilities.

Here lighting is integrated into a bespoke BDP handrail design as existing fluorescent handrails did not comply with DDA diameter restrictions. By integrating the fluorescent lighting into the handrails, it allowed BDP lighting designers to create an uncluttered space in line with their ‘light without light fittings’ approach.

The lighting in the Galleria gives an external feel to an internal space with a fibre optic system carefully integrated into the steel-glass roof providing subtle ambient pools of light rather than flooding the area with glaring light and its reflections.

The Galleria is the main hub which connects the retail pedestrian street with access to the restaurants and the cinema and car park. The lighting has minimal visual impact in the space and enhances the architectural features. Louvres are illuminated in white light and the wall has a subtle blue wash with the sources not visible from the Galleria.

The Galleria lift has a glowing light feature integrated into the top and bottom of the glazing with coloured lighting mounted onto the lift cars to provide animation and an eruption of light.


A new leisure route including ‘the Cut’ has been created that joins the Ropewalks area of the City, famous for its young vibrant culture, with the new Liverpool ONE scheme. 

New lighting columns were designed for all the public realm areas of the scheme, giving an aesthetic continuity but also flexibility for different lamp and reflector configurations in the same size apertures. When people wander from the Ropewalks, these monolithic lighting columns are used to draw the eye down the street to the dramatic lighting of the Cut and Zig-Zag stairs at the end, enticing and encouraging the visitor to brave the large flight of stairs rather than take the lift!

Colour choice for the stairs was inspired by the idea of lava flowing from top to bottom as the light flows through orange, red, fuchsia, purple and blue. Those not taking the stairs can experience the same colour flow as colour changes slowly in the lift enclosure through the same palette.

The ambient lighting to the stairs comes from a fibre optic system carefully integrated into the structural beams and bridge, following the zigzag path of the stairs. The technical challenge of delivering the right amount of light in this area, extremely detailed calculations were carried out to ensure that uniform ambient light was delivered only to the stairs and to compensate for massive changes in height between source and stair tread.

The escalators are also a feature; the lighting is integrated into the handrails and creates two different environments in the two escalators, aqua, which enhances the material of the glass walls in the small cut and orange which links in to part of the palette of the zig-zag staircase. LEDs are integrated into the sloping stone wall, providing a feature by pushing a line of light in between the stone joints.

The newly landscaped urban park is one of the City’s principal green spaces and provides links to the Waterfront and Albert Dock. It terraces up from Strand Street, culminating in a series of pavilion buildings in a grand terrace. Under the Park are 2,000 new car parking spaces with direct access into the shopping area.

For lighting of the public realm areas and facades of buildings, BDP had a holistic approach to the scheme to create a coherent nightscape which can be seen to full effect in the park. Also by lighting on a human scale, low level lighting has created areas for relaxation and leisure.

Visible from the park is a coloured ‘Halo’ illumination feature which wraps around the space at high level. RGB colour change LEDs are integrated into a bespoke designed channel which runs as a consistent feature along the four buildings which wrap around the Park. The Halo can change colour in line with the seasons or specific events.
Energy efficiency and maintenance were key factors for BDP in applying all lighting components on the project.

Ceramic metal halide lamps and LED technology are used throughout the scheme to ensure a pleasant and safe night time environment as well as providing long lamp life and high energy efficiency.

It was important that all equipment specified and designed considered the client’s maintenance strategy and access requirements. For example, it is impossible for a cherry picker to gain access at high level in the Cut and Galleria, so lighting had to be positioned in such a way that it could be maintained from roof level.

All feature and dynamic lighting in the scheme is controlled via a Lux sensor and time switch linked to central BMS, that allows the lighting to be switched off at a curfew that can change throughout the week – at weekends the lighting will stay on later than on a weekday. This way the wow factor of the lighting remains but minimises unnecessary energy consumption.

For a city that loves shopping and style, the lighting of this grand retail scheme had to knock the Liverpudlian’s socks off. The result proves how lighting can pull an entire development together and has created not just a shopping centre but a city centre in itself.

BDP team: Laura Bayliss, Brendan Keely, Karen Ihlau
Other BDP lighting designers invloved
Chris Lowe, Barrie Wilde (now retired), Melissa Stears, Laura Mackay, Martin Lupton, Elga Niemann

Architects: BDP, Allies and Morrison, Dixon Jones, Page and Parks, Haworth Tompkins, Brock Carmichael, Stephenson Bell, Glenn Howells Architects, Greig & Stephenson, CZWG, Allies and Morrison, Wilkinson Eyre, Austin Smith Lord, Pelli Clarke Pelli Associates,
Contractor: Laing O’Rourke, WT Jenkins, Balfour Beatty, Crown House

Lighting Suppliers:
ACDC Lighting, Alan Dawson Associates, Aquila, Bega, Chameleon Technologies, Clarity Lighting, Color Kinetics (Solus Solutions), Crescent, DW Windsor, Encapsulite, Erco, iGuzzini, Lamp, Lee Filters, Lightgraphix, Light Projects, Norka, Philips, Siteco, Zumtobel


Paradise Street and the entrance to “the cut” which leads into the galleria and leisure offer. Street lighting is from iGuzzini Woody, the lift enclosure uses cold cathode from ACDC and the balcony is lit by iGuzzini Linealuce coloured with Lee Filters
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