Project
The Mailbox

Location
Birmingham, United Kingdom

Client
Milligan Retail

Completed
2017

Architect
Stanton Williams

Photographer
James Newton

Photographer
Jack Hobhouse
Type
Leisure and Retail

Discipline
Architecture + Environment




Our lighting approach for the interior of The Mailbox was developed to enhance its strong architectural rhythm, while also ensuring the retail shop fronts take prominence. In response to Stanton Williams’ architectural design intent, we placed two rows of linear LED luminaires in between each fin to graze light up the vertical surfaces. The luminaires are intentionally positioned asymmetrically to create two different lit effects depending on whether you entering or leaving the space.

The key space is a double height volume anchored at one end by a well-known luxury department store. Natural light enters the space through a series of U shaped fin elements that span a glazed skylight, which also work as ‘louvres’ to conceal the office space above the retail units.

When entering, the uplighting effect appears softer, with the vertical surfaces bathed in indirect reflected light. This creates a backdrop that allows the visual focus to extend towards the anchor store. On exiting, however, the visible vertical surfaces of the fins are actively lit, delivering a stronger, more defined spatial frame.

To ensure that in the hours of darkness the skylight remains a positive element in the design, we recessed a LED strip within the top of each fin uplighting the film-coated glass. Outside of the Urban Room, the rhythmic language of the U-shaped fins is echoed graphically. Linear slot details are placed at regular intervals in the ceilings, and in the flanking walls to the escalators, creating a ‘wrap around’ effect.

In a tenanted retail environment it is always challenging to ensure a sense of unity along the circulation corridor. To address this issue, a row of discreet downlights was employed along the leading edge of each unit to help bind the retail frontages together in a subtle but harmonious manner. At high level, a pair of LED projectors is located within technical troughs that are concealed at intervals between pairs of fins to provide supplementary light to the concourse.

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