Shanghai- Sanya 14th August 2013
As I am anxiously waiting if my flight to Sanya will leave on time (or at all) due to this year’s strongest typhoon (Utor) blasting its way between Hainan and Hong Kong I use my time at the airport lounge to write my blog, reminiscing on the day’s events. One of my meetings today was a kick-off meeting on the renovation of two shopping malls that we will undertake, a design that will need to be turn around in 3 months. Quite a schedule, hence the initial meetings to determine the design direction are crucial.
We do not do that many retail projects, though the public areas of a shopping mall often are in our scope of works when part of a bigger mixed development. This time around we have a specific focus on the facade and actual retail areas. Many “older” retail spaces in asia often have the lighting mix wrong; high ambient general lighting with little drama or accents. In my (lighting designers) mind there is a close relationship between theatre and shop lighting, certainly in higher end department stores which is what we are looking at. Shoppers are to be enticed entering the shop and moved along by the attention projected on to the merchandise on sale. This requires a far more dramatic (contrasting) approach to the lighting design. In the older days creating an overall uniform blanket of light was considered “safe” as it would allow to move the merchandise and sales positions around without having to change any of the lighting. Now the focus (literally) is on the merchandise and we hardly focus on lighting the circulation area. It takes care of itself if we take care of the surrounding merchandise on display. There is a further trend to make the light “disappear” from the ceiling to further enhance the experience with lighting nearly solely coming as reflected light from the merchandise displays. This calls for a different mind set and also a different approach in terms of lighting systems, all this of course coordinated with and integrated in the shops interior retail concept.
Light Watch 4-132: Galleries Lafayettes, the famous Paris department store recently opened its doors in Jakarta (Pacific Place). Here are some pics which give you the mood and ambience I refer to. I note that sometimes lights can be explicitly used to create mood and drama as can be seen in some pics…