The lighting design scheme for this London family home needed to provide a calming and relaxing environment, whilst also providing dynamic spaces for the whole family to enjoy.
Project spotlight: Lighting design for a London Townhouse
Nestled in the heart of Kensington, this stunning townhouse project provided the perfect opportunity to enhance key architectural features and bring the interior style to life at night with subtle and clever lighting design. Our Senior Designer Hazel Park talks us through the project – the brief, challenges faced, the lighting products used, as well as her highlights from the design.
The brief and design approach
On this collaborative project we worked closely with the Architects, Studio Indigo, Interior Designers, Todhunter Earle, and the Developer, Nickie Gething. The brief was to work within the traditional style of the property and our lighting had to be empathetic towards the designs of the Interior Designer, working closely to ensure the details were executed properly. Decorative lighting was a key part of the interior design, so we worked collaboratively to understand what they wanted to achieve with the decorative elements in order to enhance this with architectural lighting and advise on decorative solutions that would complement the overall scheme and light levels.
As the property and style was traditional with contemporary elements, we were careful not to use too much modern lighting – we chose products carefully to blend in with the property and scheme, for example, linear lighting was used sparingly to enhance key features only and miniature spotlights were instead integrated into joinery.
The property was set over five floors with vast opportunity to integrate architectural lighting. Within the basement, the dramatic media room was a stunning area to light. During the day, natural light came down through the two lightwells on either side of the room. At night the challenge was to evenly light the room and creating a great atmosphere was vital.
As you approach the media room through the corridor you get a fantastic view with the curved seating area as a focal point, so we wanted to ensure these spaces were connected with light so that a journey was created as you travelled through. The challenge was to ensure the hallway was not too dark, and that the light was balanced here with the light coming in through the lightwells and lighting on the far side of the media room. The corridor lighting was achieved through miniature Lucca 30 uplights to highlight the archway, as well as Polespring 40 downlights to provide general lighting and create flow. We added Lucca 30 uplights into the lightwells, so at night the view was extended and these did become dark pockets within the room.
Within the seated banquette area, mirrors were installed on either side of the artwork, so the challenge here was to avoid reflecting the source of the light. We worked closely with the joiner on site to ensure that the Contour linear LED strip was carefully concealed so that it could not be seen in the mirrored reflection. To create a focus, the Wallace picture light was selected to evenly light the artwork above the curved seating which draws the eye as you come down the corridor.
The first floor was open plan and multifunctional with a kitchen and dining area leading out to the garden plus a study and a TV room. It was essential here that the light was adaptable for the client – it needed to feel like one space when entertaining during the evening, but also have individual control when in the study or TV area. To achieve this, a control system was adopted and we zoned each room, so that the lighting could be tailored in each area. The kitchen and dining room included fully dimmable Polespring Pure 50s which could be toned down for evening entertaining, or to create a brighter, functional light during the day. The garden lighting was also installed on the control system so that at night the view could be extended through the glass doors to avoid a fishbowl effect.
In the study space, it was important to allow for effective task lighting. We introduced decorative adjustable wall lights to provide task light when working without affecting the overall mood of the space, plus low glare Etta Eyelids within the high-level joinery to create a layer of ambient light.
The staircase lighting formed the central spine of the house. Integrating the Contour LED strip here had to be considered carefully as the staircase was curved. We had to create a shadow gap to ensure the linear strip could not be seen from any angle and the soft glow was achieved without distraction from the light source itself. It was all about the detail here. We carried out a variety of light tests to experience the effects, trialling curved linear strips as well as different profiles to ensure the correct solution was achieved.
The balance between the architectural lighting and the decorative lighting was important here. From the basement level you could look all the way up the staircase, so in combination with the subtle linear lighting, a pendant with three globes was installed to drop through the centre, connecting the whole space. Wall lights were added to bring the staircase lighting scheme together, in keeping with traditional elements of the property and interiors.
The standout area for me was when you walked into the open plan kitchen and dining area with the garden lit. This expanded the sense of space as you look out and it feels incredibly atmospheric. The pendant accent onto the dining room table, combined with a Polespring 50 downlight, created a focal point onto the flowers, and the layers of light including the integrated cabinet lighting added mood and brought the room to life at night. There was such a transformation from day to night in this area and a beautiful effect was achieved with the lighting, creating a relaxing and atmospheric space you just want to enjoy and entertain in.
Lighting Design: John Cullen Lighting
Interior Designer: Todhunter Earle Interiors
Architects: Studio Indigo
Developer: Nickie Gething, Lennox Investments
Photography: Ray Main