The Perfectionists' Café,
T2 London Heathrow Airport

Restaurants & Bars

The Perfectionists’ Café draws on the vernacular and ambience of the 60’s “heyday” of passenger flights when air travel was deemed glamorous. The interior style, finishes and lighting echo this. Lighting was a key component to the success of the restaurant at the briefing stage with the lighting design requirements to consider the huge competition within the terminal, the ‘show kitchen & bar’ and the Ice Cream Parlour which were the backdrop to the theatre that was to be The Perfectionists café. Energy requirements were very strict as dictated by Heathrow and the usage throughout the day and night with the extreme daylight and artificial terminal lighting throughout the day and nights were an added challenge.

Working closely with interior designers Afroditi Krassa Studio, dpa’s design integrates and compliments the unique and vibrant interior spaces to enhance the rich materials with a mixture of subtle brushes of light coupled with more dramatic accents to further enhance points of interest throughout the restaurant.

Our role was also to review, coordinate and suggest any additional decorative lighting and to provide the wow factor with lighting.

Design Approach & Challenges

The overall impression of the restaurant and in particular its elevation is the ‘band of interest and activity’ from the buzzy bar area at the entry point to the other side of the restaurant where the pace is more relaxed. dpa provided design solutions for the floating facia, backlit lettering and accent lighting to the feature mechanical clockwork knife which sparkles like an expensive Swiss timepiece.

The bar and café counter stretches seamlessly lifting the layers of interior materials with light. The displays to the rear are the main focal point with lighting integrated within ceiling details to minimise view of lighting equipment. This provides accent lighting to food displays, interior objects and materials of interest such as the wood oven, bar, café and Ice cream parlour.

Interactive ‘triggers’ were designed into the scheme with Controlled Lighting Ltd to provide an extra touch of ‘theatre’ and interaction. For example, the bread oven is spot lit at the opening and recedes to the back when in use. Also, the bar cocktail area receives a similar accent when in use as does the nitrogen station for the ice-cream machines with colour changing lighting being activated when the nitrogen vapour pours from the bowls.

Individual table lights and floor lights to seating areas were introduced to the areas where ceilings were not possible to provide intimacy and a human scale to what is still a large terminal building and vibrant artwork provides a backdrop to the banquette seating areas.

All lighting utilises LED’s including the decorative pendants, table and floor lights

A lighting control system provides the necessary variable lighting scenes to provide appropriate day and intimate and moody night scenes.

Photography courtesy of Sim Canetty-Clarke