The Principal – London

Standing prominently on the eastern side of Russell Square in Bloomsbury, the Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel (formerly the Principal Hotel) is a landmark Grade II listed building originally opened in 1898.

Intimidating yet grand in it’s appearance the hotel required a lighting scheme that would highlight it’s immaculate architectural detailing whilst respecting it’s illustrious history.

Enter Lighting Design International (LDI) who’s first step was to understand how the building would be seen from Russell Square. Consideration was given to the viewing angles which were limited to the centre of Russell Square where large trees partially obstructed the hotel or from oblique angles from street level.

LDI sought to create a simplified approach – repeating lighting effects at high-level, collectively creating linear compositions of effects across each level, framing and defining each facade and outlining the architectural form of the building.

The solution

The resulting scheme empashises the hotel’s dominance within Russell Square whilst providing areas of interest at street level for arriving guests and passers by.
The key to the success of LDI’s scheme was balancing the intensity of each lighting effect.

Confidence in the application of large quantities of low-output fittings to achieve the collective overall effect was crucial to the design and provided drama and contrast.

LDIs focus initially was colour temperature. The concern was that the terracotta exterior would produce a very warm lighting effect but, tests showed 2700°K was perfect for all locations.

Enter acdc’s PLAZA to outline the building and large scale features such as the tall columns at ground level which were up-lit by acdc 10° Plaza 10 fittings. The high-level turquoise turrets washed by acdc 16° Plaza 20 floodlights .

At low level LDI focused on smaller features including uplighting the large columns flanking the main entrance from below ground level with acdc’s 10° Plaza 10 fittings.
All light fittings are surface mounted to limit damage to the terracotta exterior with cabling hidden out of sight within the architectural nooks and crannies.

The overall result is an incredible yet classic example of a simple, integrated and seamless design.

Lighting Design: Lighting Design International
Photography: Gavriil Papadiotis
Product: PLAZA 10


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