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Lighting Design International overhauls illumination of Harrods dining hall


London studio Lighting Design International contrasted soft illumination with spotlighting to create a sense of drama at the dining hall of Knightsbridge department store Harrods.


Lighting Design International created the lighting design, shortlisted in the architectural lighting design category at the Dezeen Awards 2021, as part of a refurbishment of the historic meat and fish hall.

Lighting Design International dramatic lighting
Above: the Pasta Bar and the Fish Bar have decorative soffits. Top: specially made lamps were used for the Wine Bar

The studio juxtaposed a warm light from specially made fittings and concealed bulbs with ultra-narrow downlights that spotlight individual dining plates.

“This high-contrast lighting to each plate makes the food a main feature against the backdrop of chefs engaged in culinary theatre,” Lighting Design International said.

Harrods dining hall sushi bar
The Sushi Bar has narrow beam lighting from the canopy to each place setting

The dining hall at Harrods is centred by a caviar bar surrounded by five other counters and seating areas, each with its own open kitchen.

Lighting Design International used hidden warm white LEDs as pelmet lighting on the front of the bar soffits of the five counters. The LEDs were adapted to suit the shape and kitchen of each section.

Harrods Dining Hall bar by Lighting Design International
Existing floor tiles, walls and ceilings were all retained in the refurbishment

For the central caviar bar, Lighting Design International used narrow beam fittings to provide under-counter lighting that accentuates its fluted shape and bronze detailing.

This halo of light around the top of the bar is paired with under-bar lights shining onto the floor tiles.

Caviar bar in Harrods
The caviar bar in the middle of the dining hall

As the caviar bar does not have an overhead soffit, the designers added tabletop lamps between diners, as well as a concealed LED roll-top detail for the countertop.

The downlighting over the place settings was designed to form a pool of light around each plate for maximum colour saturation.

Lighting Design International used brighter, slightly cooler downlighting for the open kitchens. These were given black ceiling soffits to eliminate light reflection and contrast against the warmth of the dining hall.

Specially designed decorative globes near the hall’s ceiling throw out general lighting and dish uplighters were placed to highlight the dining hall’s decorative tiling.

banquette lit by Lighting Design International
The Fish Bar has additional banquette seating with integrated lighting

“All bespoke light fittings and lighting solutions are designed to enhance the guest experience and human connection to light, ensuring that the space is inviting, intimate, comfortable, and relaxing,” said the studio.

“It was important that not only the space appeared beautifully lit, but also the diners, leading to diffuse warm bar top uplighters which provide flattering low intensity light to the diners enhancing the social aspect and experience.”

Illuminated plate of food
Each place setting is individually lit

During the day, linear LEDs light the central ceiling and cartouches, but in the evening these are dimmed to reduce the ambient light.

Existing floor tiles, walls and ceilings were all retained as part of the project, which uses bluetooth technology to control the dimming of the bulbs.

Harrods dining hall ceiling
The tiled high-level roof in the centre of the hall is lit by diffused linear LEDs

The architect for the overhaul of the Harrods dining hall was multidisciplinary studio Woods Hardwick, with interior design by David Collins Studio.

Other projects shortlisted in the architectural lighting design category of the Dezeen Awards this year include the Maggie’s Centre in Leeds and the spherical Apple Marina Bay Sands.

The photography is by Kensington Laverne.



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