QELA Boutique,
Doha - Qatar

Featured Project / Retail

QELA is a completely new brand and concept which combines high end couture fashion with a flexible art gallery space. This is the brand’s first flagship store. Architecturally the project is across two floors with a central atrium space and large domed ceiling. The overall FOH area is approx. 750sqm.

There are a number of distinct spaces within the project: Ground floor art gallery space and merchandise display, first floor merchandise display including high end jewellery, VIP Salon, and fitting rooms. There are entrances on both floors. All finishes are extremely high quality and the colour palate is fairly contemporary.

For the FOH areas the brief was to design a lighting solution which provided a luxurious layered lighting appearance to accentuate finishes, architectural interiors and features, and displays. Merchandise was to stand out from the ambient effect with highly controlled accent lighting. This was all to be achieved with as up-to-date lighting technology as possible. The client is very forward thinking and was looking for innovation in all aspects of the design. Due to the nature of the project all lighting has to be very flexible, controllable, and high colour rendering. Luminaires were to be integrated where possible.

The important points to note for the lighting design are:

– All front of house lighting except the jewellery cases and decorative fittings are LED based and dimmable. This provides significant energy saving qualities to the scheme. BOH lighting is typically fluorescent based except at the thresholds.

– All ceiling luminaries for art and merchandise display are remote control from RCL, either track mounted or ceiling recessed. This gives the client operating team ease of adjustment for the changing displays and installations. For the ground floor art display these are controlled from the RCL ‘iDirect’ system via iPad. This applies to direction (pan and tilt) and light level to suit the art. Some scenes are also set.

– All other general, architectural, and retail display lighting is controlled through a Lutron scene set system with directional adjustment with iDirect. A number of scenes are programmed as required.

– Both the RCL iDirect control system and the Lutron system are designed to communicate with each other for further flexibility.

RCL light sources are high power CREE modules to cater for the high ceilings. Various beam angles are utilised. Other LED light sources included the GE Punch modules for the same reasons. Elsewhere Xicato Artist modules are used for normal ceiling heights.

General architectural lighting includes perimeter integrated covelighting to wash feature wall panels and curtains, and concealed uplighting to the feature dome ceiling in the atrium.

For the jewellery display custom designed podiums and wall cases were developed. The glass podiums contained a very slim profile at the top, housing fibre-optic end fittings with 90 degree mirrors. For the wall units again top lighting and low level uplighting is provided by fibre-optics with linear LED to wash the back panel. Light sources are 250 watts metal halide with white colour tuning and dimmer wheels. Typical illuminance values at the base surface are 12000 lux horizontal and 3500 lux vertical.

Over the jewellery consultation desk is a separately controlled cool white spotlight to view silver and diamonds etc. Normally the general lighting is warm white.

The VIP salon is intended to have the ambience and intimacy of firelight . The ambient effect is low but the garments are still well lit with high colour rendering white light from the ceiling.

In the fitting rooms, over the mirror and podium, is a backlit ceiling feature with dimmable and tunable white light. This allows the customer to view themselves in either simulated daylight ( cool ) or for an evening function or at home ( warm ). Additional narrow beam pinhole accent lights pick out fabric textures, and integrated mirror lighting provides a soft full height lighting to the front of the customer. This is supplemented with perimeter cove lighting to wash curtains and feature wall panels, and decorative feature lighting.

Photography: Courtesy of Adrian Haddad