Devonshire Square, London Lighting, Speirs and Major

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Devonshire Square London : Architecture

Lighting Development in London, UK – design by Fletcher Priest, Architects

15 Sep 2009

Devonshire Square

2009

Architect: Fletcher Priest

Lighting: Speirs and Major Associates

Devonshire Square is a modern business estate with a unique historical past. A short distance from London’s Liverpool Street station, twelve grade-II listed buildings form a quiet campus environment designed for work, dining and shopping. What makes the estate all the more special is its link to London’s commercial past. The twelve 18th-century buildings were once the warehouses of the East India Company and were used to house silks and spices traded from India. Today, the Devonshire Square site offers a rare glimpse of London’s surviving commercial heritage.

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The site was redeveloped in the late 1970s and became a high-profile office scheme of the 1980s. In 2006, Architects Fletcher Priest were engaged to review the site and they developed proposals that would improve the efficiency of the office spaces and encourage active use after working hours. The architects also recognised the strategic role that light would play in transforming the site and extending operation after dark and therefore suggested the appointment of Speirs and Major Associates to the design team. The Devonshire Square estate has now been reconfigured to include residential and retail spaces, and a central courtyard space has been covered and landscaped to create an active public area for restaurants and alfresco dining.

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About the lighting
The lighting was expected to support a number of strategic goals: to promote the estate as a business attraction; emphasize the impact of the Devonshire Square area; activate the site after working hours; highlight period features; and safeguard the original architecture. In order to encourage greater use of the public areaat Devonshire Square, light has been used to reshape the space into something softer and more relaxed. The challenge was how to create a sense of intimacy in a cavernous space overlooked by tall 18th century warehouses. Designer Andrew Howis: “We were acutely aware that the Western Courtyard is dominated by these beautiful but slightly overbearing buildings. The role we played was in creating a more human scale at ground level without interfering with the fabric of the buildings.” To define a more intimate volume, ten custom pendants (designed by Speirs and Major Associates) provide a soft, warm glow of light without creating any clutter on the floor. The warmth at ground level is accentuated by a chill moonlit atmosphere in the surrounding canopy above.

About the pendants
The pendants have been conceived in two layers – a course steel outer layer that corresponds to the rough industrial heritage of the buildings and a finer bronze mesh core that complements the dining atmosphere below. The slender form of the pendants responds to the tall, thin section of the courtyard space. The uplighting of the inner cylinder produces a candle-like appearance with the impression enhanced by dimmable tungsten halogen lamps to allow very warm colour temperatures. The candles have been designed as much for their daytime appearance as their lighting properties.

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Devonshire Square – Building Information

Client: Devonshire Square
Lighting architect: Speirs and Major Associates
Architect: Fletcher Priest
Landscape architect: Whitelaw Turkington
Photographs: James Newton

Images © Speirs and Major Associates / James Newton

Devonshire Square London images / information from Speirs and Major Associates

Fletcher Priest

Speirs & Major


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