Posted by Graham Rollins on 20 May 2020
Project Team: Gensler
Location: Harrods, London
Harrods Technology, now based on the fifth floor, covers 30,000 sq ft and offers shoppers a unique retail experience, providing products from the best tech brands, interactive experience within stunning surroundings.
You enter the Harrods Technology department through two dynamic portals, known as The Switch, where the customer's experience begins. Our overall concept was to create a bright, vibrant and consistent level of illumination along the wallkway. As you venture away from the walkway, the space becomes softer and more relaxed as lighting levels diminish the further you walk into each room, allowing customers to have a more personal shopping experience.
As customers progress through the bold and dynamic Switch portal, the familiar environment of Harrods is left behind as they are transported into the new modern department. This transition through The Switch allowed us to maximise the use of strong, high impact, contrasting lighting effects, and controlled pixel linear LED to set the tone.
Once through one of the two Switch zones, the customer arrives on the walkway, the main artery that extends 94 metres through the department, connecting each of the five categorised rooms that extend out to the left and right. To avoid a flat effect, associated with uniform backlighting, we illuminated the fabric from either side of the ceiling, creating a wash that fades off towards the centre. We supplemented this effect with regular pools of light along the length of the walkway, from spotlights within the ceiling edge, which also helped accentuate the veining in the tiled marble floor. The majority of the department was illuminated from above by adjustable narrow beam LED spotlights on mains voltage track, concealed within discreet ceiling slots.
Once you step away from the walkway, light levels fall. This reduction in light levels and our desire to minimise general lighting to floor space helps to express the contrast between the general illumination and the direct and focused light on products. Ensuring all products remained the most prominent element of each area.
In addition to the concept of diminishing light levels, we also utilised a variation in colour temperature to compliment the intended change in mood and experience as you depart the walkway. Architectural features such as ceiling slots washing walls and under-step lighting were carefully detailed for a residential feel. This created an appropriate backdrop for products to be illuminated and ensuring excellent colour rendering and a clean appearance.
Products are displayed on a mixture of mid-floor tables and fixtures with perimeter displays on adjustable wall-mounted panels and shelving systems. All of which incorporated a variety of linear LED details.
One of our biggest challenges was ensuring the perimeter wall displays were sufficiently illuminated. Our opportunities in these areas were severely limited due to bulkheads carrying vital services through the room. This prevented us from lighting the perimeter walls from the ceiling. Therefore, we developed a shallow channel within the 40mm available to us beneath the bulkhead. This channel housed a linear LED profile to wash the walls and small spotlights centred on each wall panel to provide direct illumination to shelves.
While the products were the main focus of our scheme, we also wanted to compliment the subtle architectural features of the space and draw customers into each room. An example of this is the halo lighting we introduced to the perimeter wall panels.
Photography by Andrew Beasley