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Airport Lighting


spend money and they know that lighting is one of the most important tools in this. There is also the question of what is the airport space? Airports vary so much. When we worked with The Design Solution on Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, not only was the space large but it was also very high, a big problem in itself. Working in tandem with Robbie Gill of The Design Solution, we created special features such as tall columns within the retail environment that were up-lit with colour that could be changed. This did two things, it help bring the ceiling down and produced a sense of “theatre” within the retail offer. For instance, different colours were used to match the products like red for liquor. Suvanabhumi was a big challenge to provide suitable lighting in a very large building that helped create a branded environment that was world class.” Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok was a major design project due to the space involved, but what about where space is very restricted, especially at height level? Bristol Airport was a recent design project that had as its aim the expansion of commercial space without extending the


fabric of the airport. This project called for some very careful planning, carried out by The Design Solution, when it came to the very delicate issue of “merchandise lighting” as the ceiling is less than 8ft high. The lighting also had to contend with a highly reflective marble flooring as architect for the project Nick Taylor, Director at The Design Solution explained. “We were faced with a very low ceiling that our master-plan had to work with. Light is always an issue in airport retailing, too much and you put the customer off, too little and the merchandise cannot be seen. ARUP was responsible for the lighting system, which used a wide variety of accent lighting to draw the people to the sides of the Duty Free store, and the merchandise was illuminated by the use of low voltage spots. The end result is an enjoyable brightness without reflection or refraction.” These are two diametrically opposed airport lighting projects that required the utmost lighting creativity. Regulations are strong, particularly in Europe, and this throws up difficult lighting industry problems that still have to be resolved, as Taylor explains; “We have witnessed a


general drive by airports in recent years to impose strict guidelines capping lighting power consumption. Retailers have responded to this specifying LED’s, capitalising on the superior “Bang for Buck.” However, the technology is still not quite there, and whilst LED’s do not consume the same power or generate the same amount of heat as a tradional fitting, in my opinion they are still not able to render a comparable bandwidth as a metal halide fitting.” Taylor gives food for thought!


By Steve Thomas-Emberson, Architecture and Design Writer.


Contact


Lighting Design House T: 0208 572 3852 www.lightingdesignhouse.com


The Design Solution T: 0207 908 5200 www.thedesignsolution.co.uk


ARUP T: 0117 976 5432 www.arup.com


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