Returning to the Reputation -- Burlington Arcade

Burlington Arcade, situated between Bond Street and Piccadilly, is one of the oldest and most famous shopping mall in the world as well as a Grade two listed one dating back to 1819. It has been lasting for around 200 years; however, in the 20th Century, the northern end was completely destroyed during the Blitz, leading to a restoration both of building and reputation. Speirs + Majors took a great part in the reconstructing array and lighted the Arcade up aiming to bring its old and classic beauty back.

Burlington Arcade by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (1827-28)
Burlington Arcade by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (1827-28)

Old and New Stories

Originally, the Burlington Arcade was built to sell jewellery and fashionable products while being a gratification to the public. Besides, its history runs parallel to the development of artificial lighting. Initially gas lit, the arcade was subsequently illuminated by incandescent lighting and latterly discharge lighting. The unfortunate consequence of these many changes was not only the loss of the historic fixtures and the original lit appearance of the arcade, but additionally every iteration had left its own legacy in terms of conduits, cabling and defunct equipment. In 2010, the arcade was purchased by a joint venture comprising two international specialist retail real estate investors, Meyer Bergman and Thor Equities, whose aim was to physically restore the iconic property and reinstate the historic space as a global luxury shopping destination. Speirs + Major were commissioned to redesign the lighting of the arcade, working alongside heritage architectural specialists Blair Associates.

Burlington Arcade_James Newton_02

Lighting Plans

Briefly speaking, the new lighting was aiming to raise the arcade's profile as a tourist destination by sensitively restoring its appearance as well as providing infrastructure to support events. Therefore, it was important to show a vintage but welcoming ambience and create an attractive feeling for people to enjoy their shopping tours. This project won the Award of Merit in 2013 IALD International Lighting Design Awards with a comment from one judge on this arcade: "This project combines a successful concept, finely coordinated details and control settings that prove the designers' mastery of lighting design."

The Victorian Mannerism façade called “Piccadilly façade” was added in the early 20th century. A bright and attractive space was created that reveals the site's unique architecture while concealing the fittings and wiring as much as possible. The heavy demand on the power supply to the building meant the scheme had to be delivered within the total load of the previous metal halide scheme.

Piccadilly façade

All shops line up on both sides of the arcade and there is a transparent rooftop for the sunlight to shine in. Here, uplighting was deemed one of the key elements to improving the appearance of the arcade, with a new miniature linear LED lighting system designed to accomplish this.

The north entrance
The north entrance

The lighting programming progressively reveals the details of the architecture throughout the evening, starting at a crisp 4000 K to dispel the gloomy appearance of dull days and ending at around 2700 K at sunset.

Different lighting conditions for different hours
Interior of Burlington Arcade
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