At the refurbished Forum. St Paul's, lighting design by Hoare Lea balances daylight contrast, and changes atmosphere day to night with multiple scene setting
All Images: Dan Paton
Originally built in 1990 by Richard Seifert, 33 Gutter Lane in London has been refurbished and rebranded as Forum. St Paul’s. The brief was to develop the ground-floor reception to create a fresh, relaxed, shared workspace, with extensive use of natural materials and daylight.
‘One of the primary functions of the lighting design was to help balance daylight contrast where people communally meet, work and relax to ensure visual comfort and promote wellbeing,’ says Hoare Lea’s Ben Porter. ‘There is a lot of glazing and daylight penetration in the space – all good from a health and wellbeing perspective.’
The lighting control system is used to balance daylight during the day and also allows for multiple scene setting, including intimate evening scenes. In the reception a striking double-height upstand with inlaid frieze is lit by a conjoining cove and wallwashers.
A lighting control system is used to balance natural daylight and allow for multiple scene settings
‘The recessed profile follows the curve of the upstand, delineating the space and providing a boost of brightness beneath,’ says Porter. ‘We were careful to ensure that visual brightness is maintained and that daylight is balanced with artificial light so that you get a comfortable, consistent contrast ratio,’ he adds. ‘The warm-white light helps create a welcoming environment.’
Ambient lighting is from ceiling troughs housing suspended linear profiles. Opal uplights flood the troughs, spilling soft ambient light, which is then accented by clusters of controlled downlights within the underside of the profile. The troughs are typical of the integration of bespoke detailing to create light pattern and effect – visual stimulation – which is evident throughout the project.
Focused spotlights on a recessed track light the main communal workspace
‘We also paid particular attention to vertical surfaces and materiality to ensure a comfortable visual impression at all times of day,’ says Porter. ‘Visual perception has been managed to prevent the feeling of a “cave” experience.’ Behind the oak-panelled reception desk, a reeded glass wall is backlit with a continuous opal profile. A row of Bocci pendants brings a decorative visual focus to a communal workstation just in front.
Warm-white light is used to create a calm, welcoming work and social space
The main communal workspace follows through towards the back of the building where a different atmosphere is created using focused spotlights set within recessed track. These produce gentle pools of light complementing the soft finishes and material tones of the seating, cushions and rugs. Again warm-white light is used to create a calm, welcoming work and social space.