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Swarovski, Tokyo, Japan

Issue 49 Jun / Jul 2009 : Retail : Store


Lighting Planners Associates has added sparkle to Swarovski's flagship store in Ginza by keeping lighting to a minimum.

Many world-famous boutiques stand shoulder to shoulder along Ginza’s Central Avenue in Tokyo. Swarovski has added to the glamour after opening a flagship store in 2008. After revising the crystal jewelry brand image of Swarovski, the company plans to incorporate a new concept, ‘Crystal Forest’ into its 1300 boutiques around the world. Under the new concept, the lighting design for the two-story, 256sqm Ginza boutique, emphasised keywords such as sparkle, translucency, and rhythm or reflection of light. The predominant image of crystal is of a luxurious material, but Kaoru Mende’s design sought to enhance the poetic beauty of its translucent properties through light.

Façade design is at its most glamorous in Ginza, but in the mist of this spectacle, not one lighting fixture is installed on the Swarovski façade. Instead 1500 mirror-finished, stainless steel bars hang, dancing with reflections from the rainbow of the Ginza lights. Throughout the night, the façade is constantly changing. By choosing not to do anything, LPA achieved a more powerful image for the boutique.

By contrast, the interior is pure white, LPA using a variety of methods to make it sparkle.  By varying the amount of light and its direction from CDM spotlights and LEDs, all at 4200K, they have created an atmosphere simulating rays of sunlight. On the back wall, crystals are enclosed behind a 2m x 2m swan logo with an internalised LED system to create sparkle. This one symbolic feature captures the essence of the new brand image and the poetic beauty behind the translucent properties of crystal.

Crystals were also incorporated into the staircase for another special lighting effect. Each step is covered with crystal beads, further magnified by plastic prism sheets, and made to sparkle using 5,200 LEDs. The final result was achieved through study and confirmation from mock up tests.

In the image of a huge skylight, the ceiling above the staircase radiates white light, flooding the first floor for a fantasy-like effect. Crystals have also been scattered over and embedded into the weathered stone floor. Narrow beam spotlights, mounted in a ceiling slit, shine on the stone and crystals to amplify the sparkle.  35W CDM spotlights are fitted with three different types of lenses to create rich expressions with light no matter what object is illuminated.

The interior walls of the boutique are the same configuration as the façade, only painted white.  Using the direction of light along the surface of the wall LPA created a rhythm of light and shadow. Because of the glossy wall finish, dimensions for the cove lighting were meticulously regulated with the builders and finalised at a height of 400mm, with careful considerations to eliminate glare. LPA mounted a lighting duct in the cove and attached spread lenses to 35W CDM spotlights. The spotlights are randomly arranged so that the light is not flat, but reflects the breeziness of sunbeams shining through a forest canopy.


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