Illuminating John Lewis: Architectural lighting on the Leeds skyline

Monday, March 20, 2017

If you’re local to Yorkshire, you will have heard all about the opening of the Victoria Gate shopping centre back in 2016. Costing £165 million to complete, the development has transformed a 53,400marea into a stunning new shopping destination in the centre of Leeds.

The project recently won the Best Shopping Centre award at the prestigious MIPIM awards at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, beating off competition from Japan, Hong Kong and China.   

Designed by ACME alongside commercial property developer Hammerson, the impressive development is inspired by the Victorian shopping arcades that have long been frequented by Leeds shoppers and tourists. Now home to the biggest John Lewis outside of London, the Victoria Gate has become an exciting city-centre landmark.

Kemps were enlisted by contractors AF Connell to create a bespoke lighting system for the building’s exterior. The exterior of the structure is built from white terracotta and red bricks in a distinctive diamond shaped formation, and the lighting needed to emphasise this.


We designed a series of bespoke uplighters in a bronze fitting, each containing an LED. Designed by Kemps, the brass encasing is shaped to subtly complement the buildings angles and the powerful LEDs beautifully illuminate the patterns above.


A landmark during the day, the building now remains just as spectacular throughout the night. Mark Kemp said of the project:


"We were approached by Mc Alpines to provide a bespoke, brass effect, high output LED solution which could provide a wash of light reaching over 15mtrs that would pick up on the ornate façade with spectacular effect.  The “Golden Eagles” which we called them were designed by our Projects Team with direction from the architects and collectively the right solution was reached.


"Each of the 65 fittings are unique as the metalwork had to be changed to suit each location around the full length of the building. This presented quite a challenge in itself, with careful fabrication and on-site setting out required. Each “Golden Eagle” houses a high output 4000K 28W LED floodlight with 6° optics which really focused the light in the perfect position to pick out the stunning sculpture of this majestic façade for the flagship John Lewis store.


"This was a tough challenge for all concerned but I must give praise to our team who have delivered a truly exceptional project for our great city."

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