CHANDELIERS, BROADGATE WEST, LONDON
CUNDALL LIGHT4/THE LIGHT LAB/JRA ARCHITECTS
Broadgate West, an office building near Liverpool
Street Station in London, suffered from many of the
ills afflicting 1990s speculative developments – safe
but dull open-plan offices, lots of shiny surfaces, but
no spark of creativity to bring the building alive.
Eleven floors, a reception, lounge and lift lobby
clustered around a long, narrow atrium that, in
theory, allowed plenty of daylight to enter, but in
practice was a gloomy well that lifted nobody’s spirits.
The property management client wished for a
refurbishment that, for once, put the experience of
the building occupants at the heart of the design
decisions. In particular, it called for a radical rethink
of the atrium lighting: ‘There is a feeling that the
atrium is not providing the brightness that the
occupants expect or need.’
No one can possibly say that now. Three giant,
purpose-built chandeliers hang suspended in the
50m-high space, rings of LED lighting changing
colour with the rhythm of the day. During office
hours the light is white, shifting from warm to cool.
At certain times the chandeliers run through various
scenarios, including a rainfall sequence, a volcano
eruption, a sunrise and sunset, and a varied colour
fade. The lights can be programmed to suit a client
party theme or product launch.
Lighting designer Cundall Light4 quickly determined
that the issue was not the materials of the space,
but rather the absence of lighting and the failure to
maximise the daylight and the reflective possibilities.
Designed in collaboration with John Robertson
Architects, the chandeliers were a creative solution,
capturing and reflecting daylight that would
otherwise have simply travelled to the ground floor.
The height of the chandeliers and disposition of the
rings ensure that the lit element can be seen from all
office floors. The emission of light from the multiple
positions on the chandeliers brightens the appearance
of the stainless steel surfaces when viewed from any
angle. In addition, the glazing provides multiple
reflections of the circles of light, creating even more
points of brightness.
The chandeliers were manufactured and installed by
The Light Lab. Each structure is 30.5m tall, weighs
The chandeliers not only animate but exploit the
reflectivity of the space