The new media façade of Debenhams Oxford Street in London has been realized by Light + Design Associates. For its original and professional look, it took home an IALD 2017 Award of Merit.

The lighting design project

The new kinetic media façade of Debenhams’ flagship store on London’s Oxford Street is made up of 187,000 aluminum leaves, moving with the wind to create ever-changing reflections. The brief called for a completely integrated and concealed lighting scheme. And the local authorities levied stringent planning requirements to create additional challenge and complexity.

Inspired by its fashionable contents, the lighting scheme changes the building from its cool daytime veil into a glamorous evening gown. Amber light colors the kinetic façade to appear like gold chainmail shimmering in the evening light. Wave and water-like effects appear on the façade during the day. While at night, the light converts water to fire, giving the building a totally new look.

Type of luminaires

The design uses only two types of luminaires. Two runs of high output, narrow-beam amber linear LED fittings were concealed above the canopy. Each set was aimed separately – one to illuminate the upper half of the façade and one for the lower half. This way, the entire façade is lit from a single hidden and accessible portion. The perforated panels screening the ends of the facades are backlit using the same product mounted horizontally. The second type of luminaire appears in the signage band, where there is a continuous run of warm white linear LED cover lighting. This same product was also used to backlight the perforated ceilings at the entrances into the store.

The façade lighting is automatically controlled to come on at dusk and switch off at midnight. At the request of the client, the signage band remains on during the day for round the clock branding.

A vibrant media façade

The previously invisible façade has new life and vibrance. As a consequence, it is now a destination when approaching from both the Oxford and Bond Street tube stations. So it fulfills the project’s goal of reestablishing Debenhams as a visible retail destination 24 hours a day.


DEBENHAMS OXFORD STREET LONDON, ENGLAND UK
LIGHTING DESIGN Lee Prince, IALD Light + Design Associates
Elga Niemann Formerly Light + Design Associates
ADDITIONAL CREDITS ARCHITECTURE Jaime Livingston Archial Norr
FAÇADE ARTIST Ned Kahn
PHOTOGRAPHY Lynn Sammonds, Sammonds Photography
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