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Denim Studio, Selfridges, London, England

Issue 77 February / March 2014 : Retail: Store

Lighting Design: PJC Light Studio Interior Design: HMKM

The new denim outlet in Selfridges, London, is a further addition to the refurbished store. PJC Light Studio developed a scheme that both supported the interior design, while being respectful to the restored features.

The new Denim Studio at Selfridges is the largest women’s denim department in the world. Costing as much as £6 million to create, it is as an Aladdin’s cave for Denim obsessives, which, of course, many people are. Some people are constantly on the hunt for the prefect pair of jeans, and many own a healthy number of pairs that aren’t quite that. When one considers this, the £6 million spent looks safe, if not outstandingly canny.

With an interior design created by London based design agency HMKM, featuring a lighting design from PJC Light Studio, the new store was built in the space formerly occupied by the children’s department, the store currently boasting 11,000 pairs of jeans from sixty different brands.

The brief handed to London based lighting designers PJC, was anchored by the aim of developing an elegant lighting concept. This had to be seamlessly integrated into the architectural and interior design of the store in general, whilst providing the correct balance and quality of light for a large, prestigious retail environment.

Having recently undergone a refurbishment in which the classic architectural features of Selfridges were restored to their original lustre, the lighting design also had to enhance these, whilst being sympathetic towards the newly restored columns and ceiling coffers, which form a noteworthy part of the store’s restored interior.

It was also required that the lighting design be flexible in order to respond to the changing furniture and retail display requirements, which would constantly be in flux. As well as this the design had to incorporate the many individual brand areas that would make up the space, while being energy efficient and low maintenance. Most importantly the visual appearance of the lighting had to be discreet, low in brightness and trimless with high quality detailing.

One final key requirement was the design of a unique light feature that would lead shoppers from the entry portal to the ‘Fit Studio’ where the fitting rooms are a key design feature and a point of interest.
PJC tackled these challenges with verve and panache opting to create different layers of interest for customers, using discreet installation techniques allied with the use of fittings of a compact size with low brightness optics and a simple style.

Visual interruptions to the architectural design, in particular the large restored coffer ceiling, were kept to a discreet minimum and this was combined with a clever integration of Encapsulite, Slimlite, KKDC and Osram fittings into the furniture units.

This was achieved in the high ceiling by developing a trimless track detail that blends FLOS and Lucifero’s luminaires in with the moulding profile. Small trimless adjustable fittings from Lucent Lighting were installed in the low ceilings and were used to achieve a fully integrated clean appearance.

The lighting design had to deliver excellent overall light quality whilst achieving a specific focus for individual brands. This was achieved by specifying lamp types with options of 10º, 25º and 40º optics and additional lens accessory options. All point source fittings within the ceiling were made to be fully adjustable with low brightness accessories such as snoots and louvers.

The maximum load of 30W/m² was comfortably met by specifying a combination of metal halide, linear T5 fluorescent and LED light sources with high colour rendering properties throughout and a consistent colour temperature of 3000K.

A bespoke sculptural ‘Line of Light’ feature was developed in conjunction with HMKM and manufacturer TM Lighting to lead shoppers from the entrance portal to the ‘Fit Studio’ area where customers can be measured and try on clothes. The ‘Line of Light’ features a row of RGB LEDs above an opal acrylic bar that is surface mounted to the lower ceiling and pendant mounted to the higher ceiling. It is fully programmable and usually set to a strong denim blue, but has the capability to be set to other colours during promotions or, for example, Christmas.

The ‘Line of Light’ introduces a strong visual feature into the space that visually links with the lighting found in the ‘Fit Studio’ fitting room.
The fitting rooms themselves have a graded translucent film that fades to clear vision glass at the top of each fitting cubicle. A white light pendant is suspended from the ceiling in each room, visible through the glass from the outside. The pendant changes to blue, in tune with the Line of Light, via a motion sensor when the customer enters the fitting room. If assistance is needed a button can be pressed inside the cubicle and the pendant flashes in order to attract the attention of staffers. The pendant returns to white when the room is unoccupied. The central fitting room area is wrapped in a sheer curtain that is lit from a ceiling cove in order to create a soft relaxing space, a space much removed from the adjacent frenetic retail area.

The not inconsiderable ambition of opening the world’s largest women’s denim concession, in a recently refurbished store, with a recently refurbished heritage style to protect, was certainly a challenging request. The lighting designers were asked to create a high quality design solution and integration that would achieve a unique and stunning interior. The project afforded those involved in it a great opportunity to define a new level of retail lighting, while introducing another high quality space to the Selfridges brand.


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