College Green, Dublin

Featured Project / Historical / Retail / The External Environment

dpa have worked with Swedish fashion retailer H&M for a number of years and 2014 saw a number of successful collaborations, notably H&M’s new flagship store at College Green, Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.

dpa were commissioned to design the lighting for the façade and historic internal areas of the former National Irish Bank. Originally opened in 1867 and subsequently expanded in a sympathetic style the building is landmark listed with particular significance attached to the façade, banking hall and first floor boardrooms.

As a listed building it was important that lighting solutions within the historic areas were reversible and did not impede on the features of the building, whilst providing illumination levels suitable for retail and consistent with other non-listed areas of the store where lighting was designed by H&M’s internal lighting team.

Within the ground floor banking hall the solution was to provide primary illumination from a single suspended profile system that echoed the proportions of the roof above. This neutral looking rectangular profile contained ample adjustable metal halide downlights of varying beam distributions, aimed to create the correct rise and fall of intensity around the various displays. The suspended profile also contained 2 rows of LED uplighting to highlight the ornately detailed vaulted roof as well as provide indirect ambient lighting. The only intrusion on the fabric of the vaulted ceiling was therefore minor holes for suspension cables and power cables, and the slender nature of the profile as a single rectangle with a clean white finish meant it did not clutter or intrude into the volume of the space and did not impeded views of the ornate ceiling. The Irish National Bank (INB) motifs running throughout the décor are picked up from discreet narrow beam LED spotlights mounted on ledges along with accent uplighting to the arched ceilings and portals joining into the rest of the store.

A similar approach was applied on the first floor, with the use of the same profile luminaire mounted relative to a series of coffered ceilings. As with the ground floor the slender and neutral nature of the profile meant that it sat comfortably alongside the plasterwork mouldings, accenting them with LED uplighting. In two of the upstairs rooms the existing chandeliers were retained, cleaned and re-lamped with LED lamps. Where uplight was not practical from the profile fittings then luminaires were concealed within window headers and on top of fitting room cubicles meaning that the 3 historic upstairs rooms had a consistent light and airy feel to them.

Externally the feature rich façade has been treated with a focus on lighting treatments that moulded the shapes of the columns, accenting the arches and the high quality stonework in the form of grotesques and INB crests. At the request of the electrical contractor, luminaries were selected to minimise the number of remote drivers required and were successfully trialled on portions of the building to establish exact mounting locations and aiming.

A lighting control system for the internal and external architectural system was employed taking triggers from the H&M lighting system and from timed commands allowing for a managed presentation of the store incorporating internal and external lighting elements both during and outside of trading hours. The lighting system was partially commissioned by dpa accommodating client requests up to the final few minutes before opening.

From initial site visit in January 2014 through to Opening in December the vision remained constant from concept through site trials, detailed design, construction and commissioning delivering an end result which raises the standard for external lighting in the vicinity and provides a simple clean internal scheme satisfying the clients brief and continuing dpa and H&M’s strong collaboration.