Bar and Leisure Focus: The Light Bar by Macaulay Sinclair


Macaulay Sinclair’s renovation of The Light Bar in Shoreditch, London


Words by Toby Maxwell

Sitting on Shoreditch High Street is an iconic symbol of power, light and East End culture; indeed, The Light Bar was the inspiration for the old metropolitan borough of Shoreditch’s 1900 motto ‘more light, more power’. Macaulay Sinclair has brought life back to this landmark building – a Victorian power station built in 1893 – with its abundance of history and architectural character. Despite playing a pioneering role in the development of electric power in London, it was threatened with demolition but saved by the local community’s #savethelight campaign.

The designers not only preserved but exposed the structural materials of the building, keeping the concrete, brick and steel on show. Image Credit: JOHN CAREY
The designers not only preserved but exposed the structural materials of the building, keeping the concrete, brick and steel on show. Image Credit: JOHN CAREY

Preserving the building’s original concrete floor, exposed steelwork and glazed brick walls – as part of the impressive double-height interior – helps customers engage with its Victorian engineering past, keeping the old but elevating it with something new. The addition of the mezzanine now enables The Light Bar to trade across three distinctive floors, all linked with a bespoke feature steel staircase.

Originally built in 1893, the building was saved from formal demolition in 2012. Image Credit: JOHN CAREY
Originally built in 1893, the building was saved from formal demolition in 2012. Image Credit: JOHN CAREY

In keeping with its former life as an electric light-generating station, the building’s architecture has been illuminated with festoon lighting and copper light fixtures with exposed filament lamps. A mix of teal and green accent colours, marble bar counters, bespoke mid-century furniture and lush planting all combine to soften and elevate the original features with warmth and richness.
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