Feature, Retail

The Savile Row menswear store where the lighting is as classy as the clothes

Hardy Amies is synonymous with quality British men’s tailoring, but its founder never wanted his brand stuck in a post-war timewarp. Sir Hardy Amies was a cheerleader for the cultural revolution of the sixties, championing the taste and style of the younger generation and helping to democratise male fashion.

So it is only fitting that his company’s new Savile Row flagship store is designed to reflect the modern, cosmopolitan dynamic of London. As CEO Tony Yusuf says: ‘I wanted the new store to absolutely exude the mood of the capital. To me, what makes London so interesting is its eclectic mix of old and new. I wanted the new store not to be about what London was, but about what London is.’

Architects Universal Design Studio have designed the 163m2 space as a contemporary setting for Hardy Amies’s classy collection of suits, clothing and accessories. The space is composed of elements that define the capital – red brick, limestone, London Underground tiles, glass pavement inlay, even shrubbery.

Hardy Amies sums up its look as modern and stylish, without being overtly ‘designed’. Which goes equally well for the lighting brief. The architects wanted a scheme that would complement the exposed, raw architectural elements and exude the discreet, high-quality ambience befitting the update of a luxury heritage brand without drawing attention to itself.


Flagship project

For lighting consultancy Illumination Works, it was a flagship project of a different kind. The company is a specialist in retail interiors, but the Hardy Amies store would be its first all-LED retail lighting scheme in London.

‘We had used linear LED for many years,’ explains Chad Rains, Illumination Works director, ‘but were holding out for the right ceiling accent light. We were waiting for a source that would be powerful enough, have the right optics, and give the desired effects.’

The consultancy had tried out LED schemes in Marc Jacobs projects around the world, but had yet to commit itself to LEDs in a flagship store. ‘Many of our high-end retail clients insist on more standard sources, such as metal halide and halogen, because they do not want to risk the shop or the merchandise looking flat,’ says Rains.

But finally the designers found what they had been looking for. TM Lighting is a company that made its name lighting works of art – an application requiring self-effacing luminaires with excellent light distribution. Its linear LED and ceiling spotlights offered the requisite colour rendering (CRI 90+) and optical intensity.


A perfect match

‘We wanted all of the LED colour temperatures to match perfectly, so were always looking to specify only one manufacturer for all major architectural lighting elements,’ Rains explains. ‘The TM Lighting equipment suited our needs, so we felt the time was right to go all-LED.’

The architects specified ‘clean lines of light’ along the shelves, achieved with pairs of  linear LED

The lighting layout is relatively simple. Four-metre track segments run parallel to the street, from the front to the back of the space. The tracks and track fittings are positioned to ensure that everything in the shop is evenly lit.

The tracks carry LED spotlights and narrow floodlights in a ratio of approximately one to two. The perimeter of the space, where most of the clothing is displayed, is primarily lit with narrow floodlights, with occasional use of spots to highlight specific elements and avoid a flat effect. Most of the spotlights are used in the centre of the space to highlight floor fixtures and mannequin displays. This limits the amount of spill light on the floor and helps create a dramatic, high-contrast environment.

More challenging was achieving the architects’ vision of ‘clean lines of light’ along the shelving, with no individual LEDs or any kind of pattern on the diffuser being visible. The designers initially envisaged a single linear LED at the front of each shelf, but when this was mocked up it was found that the depth of the shelves created a distracting shadow on the back wall from the ceiling accent lights. A second linear LED at the back of the shelf solved the problem.

The tracks and track fittings are positioned to ensure everything is evenly lit

The budget for all the architectural lighting was approximately £38,000. The energy savings associated with LEDs were a definite plus for the client, says Rains, along with the reduced maintenance costs. But he points out another, more satisfying consequence of eliminating the need for relamping.

‘The fact that we could focus the lights and not have all the heads shift around or end up aimed at the floor, which often happens when relamping, within six to nine months was even more exciting to them and us,’ he says. ‘There is nothing worse than revisiting a project months later to find all our time spent focusing has been erased because no one bothered to adjust the fitting after a lamp burnout.’