Next

All-LED retail lighting  |  Minimalist lighting enhances architecture  |  Low glare, high contrast  |  Atrium lighting  |  Revolutionary garden centre lighting scheme

Client

Next PLC

Location

Hedge End, United Kingdom

Manufacturer

LumenPulse / AlphaLED, iGuzzini

Architect

Stanton Williams, Dalziel & Pow

LAPD have worked with Next for many years, constantly refining their lighting design and specification.

At the beginning of our collaboration, the lit environment in every Next store comprised of metal halide and fluorescent technology.  At least 5 rows of luminaires cluttered the ceiling, in each section of the store.  Heating and ventilation grilles, sprinklers and speakers added to the clutter.

Briefed to clean up their ceilings, our initial aim was to remove at least one row of downlights.  Success here depended on being able to lower the ambient levels while keeping the perception of brightness within the stores.  So, we altered the beam angles of the existing fittings and improved the usage of the available light.  In doing so, we were able to enhance the perimeter and spine walls, making them appear brighter and more dramatic.  The boosted vertical surfaces allowed us to lower mid-floor ambient light levels without damaging perception of the store.

The next step in cleaning up the ceiling was to remove the old spotlights that protruded below the ceiling line.  Fully recessed gimbal fittings maintained the signed-off lit effect, with no lighting interrupting the ceiling line.

While improving the lighting within existing technological constraints, we worked to convince Next of the benefits of LED technology.

Firstly, we achieved success with the recessed troughs that had become a hallmark in their stores.  Reliable, seamless internal illumination of these troughs provided a good base from which to extend LED technology into the rest of their store environment.

Track-mounted LED spotlights were a natural step, mounted to the track within the illuminated troughs and elsewhere within the store.  The reliability and lifespan of LEDs was essential in allowing their use at high level, where access was limited.  As fit-and-forget luminaires, the narrow beam, high power spotlights quickly became a staple of the Next lighting specification.

Building upon the use of fully recessed gimbals, we moved to an all-LED scheme.  Fixed recessed ambient luminaires with darklight technology and adjustable recessed gimbals with polished reflectors reduced glare to a minimum.  In doing so, we transformed the comfort of the Next store environment.  Quad gimbals increased coverage and versatility in the mid-floor, while linear triple gimbals dramatically reduced the number of ceiling features.  Where there were previously 3 luminaires and 3 ceiling cutouts, now we needed only one.

The Next flagship store in Hedge End represents the pinnacle of their in-store environment.  It blends sleek, minimal surfaces with cutting edge lighting and features.

The exterior showcases the signature monolithic style of Stanton Williams.  Narrow beam LED uplighters highlight the columns and define the canopy surfaces, making for a dramatic approach to the store.

The architectural strength continues into the store, where pure surfaces combine to form soaring spaces.  The purity of the ceilings in the atria is maintained by leaving the lighting scheme sparse.  Only 2 recessed troughs house all of the high-powered LED spotlights.  Due to the full height planar glazing, the spotlights have to compete with a huge amount of natural light.  Therefore, these spotlights use 2 different beam angles.  One, to create punchy accent lighting for any merchandise placed in the atria spaces; and two, to create a subtle ambient light after the sun goes down.

A key difference between Hedge End and previous stores is the Conservatory, leading out to the Garden Centre.  Without a solid ceiling to recess luminaires into, we had to ensure that there would be full lighting coverage.  The Conservatory housed kitchens, outdoor furniture and the large range of accessories.  By designing bespoke brackets to attach to the structural steelwork, we were able to mount track over the majority of the Conservatory space.  Consequently, we provided an accent-driven design that eases the transition between the brightest parts of the store and the more subdued external Garden Centre area.

In their pilot Garden Centre scheme, we had created an all-accent lighting scheme.  For Hedge End, Next were keen to keep this tight focus on product.  In contrast, we needed to boost ambient light levels to reveal more of the impressive architecture.  To achieve this, large LED floodlights were mounted in quadruples at high level above the ground.  Arrayed to provide uniform light to the entirety of the external space, these create a suitable base light level.  Narrow beam fittings, mounted to pergolas and dividing walls, introduce a dramatic element that elevates this above any other garden centre.