SAINSBURY’S DIGITAL LAB, LONDON
CUNDALL LIGHT4 AND SAINSBURY’S
Remember the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, where
Dave Bowman walks through the airlock on the way
to his showdown with the murderous HAL 9000
computer? That high tech, purposeful and deliberate
lighting effect was the inspiration for UK retailer
Sainsbury’s new Digital Lab, an office space for web
developers working on the supermarket chain’s
website and mobile shopping apps.
The space is in a 5.5m-deep basement, so a daylight
colour for the electric lighting, a bright ceiling and a
vibrant lighting design were essential.
The architect had designed a series of ground and
mezzanine-level group ‘work pods’, ‘scrum rooms’,
client meeting rooms, a collaboration stage/stair
and a kitchen.
The scrum room ceiling lights are a repeating
sequence of ‘1’ and ‘0’ shapes – binary code that
reflects the ability of computers to endlessly repeat
the same tasks and deliver the correct answer.
There’s also a recurring hexagonal motif in the
meeting rooms, the custom-built light fittings…
even the ductwork. Light levels are dramatically
non-uniform – some of the non-task areas have
exceptionally low levels compared with most of
A hexagon design motif and
lighting are the hallmarks of this