Insights: Lighting a Luxury Grade II Listed Historic Property
Xavio specialises in super-prime luxury projects, this is our core focus with many located in super-prime London, often with historic listed character.
One of our current projects in St James’s Street, Mayfair is a perfect example to consider when looking at lighting a Grade II Listed historic property.
The video below shows hand-drawn illustrations with lighting scenes coming on in stages, giving a sense of the grandeur and atmosphere that light brings.
Scope of Works
The Scope of Works for the project are as follows:
- 50,000 sq.ft Grade II Listed historic property
- 6,000 sq.ft private members club
- 11 floors
- Full lighting design & specification
“This project is one of my personal favourites. A 50,000 sq. ft. Grade II Listed historic property which has 4 enormous ballrooms, 3 basements including a private spa, and the largest ‘presidential suite’ in London occupying an entire floor.
There is also a private subterranean entertainment space which is partly under the famous thoroughfare of Piccadilly.
I love the classic grandeur of this amazing Grade II Listed building, with the terrific size of the rooms, a grand sweeping central staircase with huge columns, and the intricacy of the whole design.
There is also a rooftop terrace with splendid views across my favourite city in all of the world….London.”
- Nick Reynolds, Managing Director
One of the overriding challenges of the project is designing a modern technical lighting system set within such a property.
As the project is a large and complex one, the many technical challenges of working with Grade II listing and its restrictions, require bespoke solutions. In addition, the design challenges of lighting the amazing architectural features whilst respecting the constraints of listed building works require further bespoke solutions.
Simon Balthazor, Project Director at Xavio goes into more detail about how our approach helps with complexities such as these;
“Xavio is known for always ‘going the extra mile’ on technical data and support, and our intricately detailed documentation includes information such as driver locations, LV cable specifications, voltage drop calculations, and a host of other information that is often a ‘grey area’ which can fall between scopes. These documents are incredibly important and ensure a clarity of detail that helps guide all teams throughout the process.”
There is also a huge amount of bespoke joinery in the project, and the Xavio team are working with Gnoato Fratelli and other specialists exploring the best ways of incorporating discreet lighting into every customised piece of furniture and joinery.
Working closely with the specialist joinery firms has been an integral part of the project, allowing us to integrate creative yet subtle lighting features. Working equally closely with specialist bespoke lighting workshops ensures that the many ornate decorative lighting elements are installed with modern LED technology that is compatible with the lighting control system.
For this project, a Lutron Homeworks System is being specified, supplied and fitted. Our role is to provide the relevant consultants with the technical specifications of the lighting and how we would like this to be controlled - this is conveyed through our lighting design plans, loading schedule, data sheets and more. The specialists then design and supply the control system to operate the lighting design scheme.
The design challenges of lighting the amazing architectural features whilst respecting the constraints of listed building works has also seen many bespoke solutions.
The ornate architectural features in the large ballroom and reception areas are intricate in detail, and spectacular in design. A key challenge was to pick out the gold leaf ceiling features in a subtle and inobtrusive way, whilst respecting the listed restrictions. The technique used to achieve this is hidden perimeter LED. Discreet, modern and effective, successfully bringing the architectural details to life. This technique was also used to light the amazing feature dome above the main stairs.
Hidden linear LED has also been used in other areas of the project. It is an extremely effective and versatile solution for this type of project. The basement level spa area comprises of full height timber slats running the entire length of the spa complex. The hidden linear LED is used to light these vertical timber slats which will result in a very dramatic feature when complete.
Design Like An Artist
One of our tenets at Xavio is ‘Design like an artist’. We see light as art, light being our brush with which we paint the canvas, so to speak.
One of our designers, Piotr Chilik illustrated by hand four areas of this project from the original CGIs. With lighting effects included, they show the atmosphere light can bring to each individual space.
A Prestigious Project
Our lighting design schemes surround light with artistic talent, technical expertise and excellence. It is incredibly important to check the science behind the art to ensure what is being proposed is technically possible to achieve. Extensive expert knowledge and a deep understanding of electrical requirements, dimming systems and the latest technology and software that relates to lighting installations is hugely important.
It’s a real pleasure to work with such professional teams on a prestigious project of this scope and nature. We look forward to sharing more insights as the project moves forward.
Architect: Reardon Smith
Interior Designer: Carlisle Design
Project Manager: Zeropointone
Client’s M&E Advisor: Ferguson Brown
Main Contractor: Blenheim House Construction
Electrical Contractor: Briggs & Forrester
AV Consultant: AT&C
M&E Consultant: BSG UK
Procurement Specialist: FK Project Management Ltd
Lighting Consultant: Xavio Design of Mayfair