St Botolphs Building – UK

Location                  London, UK

Client                       Minerva plc

Architect                  Grimshaw

Lighting design       Speirs + Major

acdc products        A bespoke solution based on acdc’s Artemis LED product

Photography           © James Newton

Summary

At over 500,000 sq ft and standing at 14 storeys high, the St Botolphs Building is one of the largest office developments in London’s EC3 insurance district. With speed of the essence in the financial world, every element of the building’s design aims to facilitate the circulation of people around the building. Speirs + Major’s lighting design concept creates a journey around the building, with the main reception area being of key importance.

Project brief

In order to avoid a dark and gloomy atmosphere in the vast reception space, Speirs + Major developed a completely bespoke and truly unique lighting solution which emphasised the vertical surfaces. Rather than simply wash the walls, a cladding system of fins was included in the reception area with textured detail panels for light to wash. Given the expanse of cladding, precise colour consistency of light was absolutely essential, so the LED’s integrated within the fins needed to be matched to within critically fine tolerances. Speirs + Major chose acdc as their preferred LED partner as they knew we could deliver bespoke product solutions to such levels of detail.

acdc’s LED solution

While the finished solution appears quite simple in appearance, it was not without its challenges given the luminaires close proximity and vertical lit effect. acdc worked closely with Speirs + Major to perfect the colour intensity and beam angles of the lights at our UK factory whilst a  series of mock-ups were created using 25 of the blades in St Botolphs reception, lit from the top and the bottom. Testing took several months and extreme efforts were made to integrate the light seamlessly to achieve absolute visual consistency across the huge number of light fittings required.

Andrew Howis, associate director with Speirs + Major commented: “Working with white LED’s, we identified a number of variations in the LED chips caused by the difference in their phosphor layer. This meant that, once we put a narrow lens on top, the differences were exacerbated. acdc’s unique dual binning process played a key role in ensuring these differences were overcome and complete colour consistency was guaranteed.”

The final product solution selected included 2,500 acdc custom made LED fittings, incorporating Cree LED’s and 8km of extrusion forming not only the walls but also the balustrade system from light. In addition, each LED luminaire was specially anodised to blend seamlessly within the lighting scheme.

The result is spectacular. A glowing outer perimeter illuminates the whole reception and a brighter perimeter to the lower ground space creates a visual draw, with the overall impression of luminosity and brilliance.

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