Burlington Arcade

A replacement LED lighting and controls system was installed in Burlington Arcade, London in recent months. The previous lighting system was over 12 years old and was beyond repair. Despite that, the main ‘control’ processor and touchscreen was re-used and reprogrammed to suit the added functionality that the new lighting delivered.  Architectural FX supplied the Led luminaires. They worked alongside a design team well versed in the building aspects of the historic arcade. The team included Metrus as property managers, Control Lighting Ltd as controls suppliers and Portland Lombard as electrical contractors.  The result delivers a skilful and deliberate reuse of material and technology where possible. An ode to repurposing and upgrading rather than replacing all together!

Burlington Arcade, the renowned historic shopping destination, opened in 1819 and today is recognised as one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Situated in the heart of Mayfair, the 196-yard arcade runs from Piccadilly through to Burlington Gardens. Described as ‘the jewel of Mayfair’, it welcomes 4 million visitors a year.

Working with such a renowned but listed structure ideally required prior knowledge of the building. Control Lighting Ltd have worked extensively on the site and have an in-depth knowledge of the existing cabling infrastructure. They intentionally reharnessed most of the cabling infrastructure which runs along the roof.  This prevented unwanted views of cabling in the Arcade and avoided listed plasterwork. Many schematic drawings were produced to work up the design and reuse the existing theatrical lighting system to the full. Control Lighting Ltd increased the scope of the DMX control system to allow for more granularity. The result is more akin to theatrical effects. Amazing chases of coloured light can span the length of the arcade and shopfront lighting can be controlled to produce multiple scenes in colour or white light.

Products Used in this Project:

In contrast to the previous installation, luminaires are more minimalist, and cleverly concealed into the shop front structures. Architectural FX supplied Integrate 4 linear LED luminaires in RGBWH 4K 40W. Fixtures have custom adjustable brackets (180 degrees). Luminaires are a combination of 30 and 10 degree beams, all IP44 rated. A custom cowel was supplied to limit views of the fixture. Only the cowel is visible where it’s integrated onto the lower shop hoardings. Fixtures were also sprayed to a special RAL 9002 to match the wall finishes. The Integrate optics graze up the shop fronts and window glazing. This lends a feature glow on the bottom panelling of the windows. In some areas 2 parallel lines were used, 2 fixtures side by side, one to graze and one to wash the ceiling in the double height atrium spaces.

The addition of RGBW capability gives great scope for celebration of special events with the use of coloured lighting and scene sets. Recently the arcade was lit in a vibrant pink to promote and celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Control Lighting Ltd’s Luke Rayner is very pleased with the support from Architectural FX on the project.

 “It was great to work with a knowledgeable supplier such as Architectural FX on what was a complex but rewarding job. James (Hamilton) worked tirelessly to make sure that the fittings supplied lived up to every expectation of the project team. The result has given the Arcade the ability to present a well-lit and inviting shopping destination. And, importantly, a dynamic event space – and everything in-between!”

Providing a replacement lighting system also gave the team a chance to upgrade the main processor which runs the lighting. The existing processor which has been there for 8 years has been reprogrammed by Control Lighting. It is now touch screen controlled for easy use and has an added dynamic show controller for dynamic effects. The processor has a custom designed interface- designed for the client’s needs.

Acclaimed composer Andrew Lloyd Webber officially switched on the Christmas lights on 16th November alongside a spectacular light show.

The sustainable aspirations of the design team don’t end with a reuse vision. They include energy saving measures geared to automatically switch the lighting off after 11pm, with a caveat of override for special night time events. A large part of delivering such a successful lighting scheme is down to the formation of a great design team. Thorough knowledge and previous experience of working at Burlington Arcade certainly helped, as did a close co-operation between individuals involved and their desire to create a great result.

George Watkins, Associate Property Manager of Metrus commented

 “Burlington Arcade can present a challenge when carrying out large-scale projects such as this, not least because the works must be completed out-of-hours coupled with there being extremely limited storage space available. Architectural FX worked seamlessly with Portland Lombard to ensure that the equipment was available on-site as required throughout the phasing of the project.”  

About Burlington Arcade 

Burlington Arcade opened on 20th March 1819 “for the sale of jewellery and fancy articles of fashionable demand, for the gratification of the public”. Today it is recognised as one of London’s most iconic landmarks and provides a unique outdoor but covered retail experience within a historical 205-year-old property. Situated in the heart of Mayfair, the 196-yard arcade runs from Piccadilly through to Burlington Gardens, parallel to Bond Street and is home to Luxury Accessories, Watch and Jewellery brands.

The portfolio includes a mix of vintage and new, combining heritage luxury with emerging brands, which share a passion for craftsmanship.
Similarly iconic, the Beadles, originally recruited to safeguard the landmark and its customers, are the oldest and smallest police force in Britain. They welcome four million visitors a year, and continue to impose the rules laid down by the original Beadles so whistling, running, riding a bicycle or ‘behaving boisterously’ are forbidden. The two lucky people granted special permission to whistle are Sir Paul McCartney and Jayden, a schoolboy who was promised a licence to whistle if he achieved a good school report.