Working with award-winning EPR Architects and Hollis M and E Consultants Zumtobel and its sister brand Thorn, both lighting brands of the Zumtobel Group have provided a complimentary lighting scheme to the Royal Society for Blind Children for its new uplifting centre.
There are an estimated 39,000 blind and partially sighted children and young people in England and Wales. Every day, four more children will be diagnosed with sight loss.
These children frequently live wonderful and fulfilling lives. However, statistically, they are at a disadvantage. The Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) believes no child in the UK should grow up to be poor or lonely just because they are blind. Through its Families First service, it works with parents and carers to help them provide the best possible environment for their young person to grow and develop.
Additionally, it offers a range of programs, online tools, and a specialist further education college to impart practical guidance and ways to help children develop relationships.
EPR Architects were tasked with designing the charity’s new headquarters – a Life Without Limits Centre. The design transformed an unused basement car park on London’s South Bank, gifted by the Richard Desmond’s Building, into an engaging hub of activity. The facility includes a contemporary workspace for the charity’s staff and flexible spaces for young blind and partially sighted people to meet, play and learn essential life skills.
Bringing the Life Without Limits Centre to life
EPR Architects employed an inclusive design, using a palette of high contrast and tactile materials to improve sensory navigation of the space, with playful and colourful interiors embodying the charity’s mission and creating a vibrant, uplifting centre.
The Zumtobel Group were approached by EPR architects to provide a lighting scheme that would bring the centre to life and make the new office spaces look fantastic.
Diffused light caters for all sight abilities
As with all basement spaces, there was an obvious lack of natural daylight. The only source is via the entrance at the top of the stairs. So, the scheme needed to include high lighting levels.
The users of the space, registered blind, and partially sighted children, were the top priority so high lighting quality was essential. Due to the range of sight abilities, low glare solutions with good uniformity were selected to avoid high contrast between light and dark to help the children’s eyes to adjust.
Tom Lobak Regional Sales Director at Zumtobel Group, explains, “we met all the challenges presented by using lots of diffuse lights. The completed scheme makes the space feel bright and inviting for both the students and staff alike.”
Central to the new facility is a creative suite for music and sensory experiences. Decorative acoustic 4000K ONDARIA luminaires reduce echoes in the ceiling less space. The round luminaire in creative suite and the boardroom delivers uniform backlighting with a tactile textile cover to absorb sound. For a coordinated aesthetic, mixed-sized ONDARIA luminaires have also been used in the boardroom.
In the reception area, the distinctive CIELUMA tunable light ceiling eases the transition between outside and inside. CIELUMA imitates outdoor daylight, in line with the Double Dynamic Lighting concept; it brings dynamic, motivating light indoors. With its sound-absorbing properties and a host of design options, CIELUMA brings a new quality in connecting light, acoustics, and space.
Two Zumtobel classics light the entrance and offices respectively, 4000K LIGHT FIELDS and ECOOS. ECOOS brings a 360° radiant light with a timeless minimalist design to create a comfortable and relaxed working environment for office staff.
To overcome the low ceiling heights, LINARIA is surface mounted along the corridors; however, unlike a typical installation, it throws light onto the ceiling to increase the sense of space and height.
Completing the scheme, Thorn OMEGA PRO 2 luminaires are installed in the kitchen.
Shalni Sood, Director of Philanthropy, Royal Society for Blind Children, comments, “The lighting in the new RSBC Life Without Limits Centre has transformed the underground space into an accessible, ambient, welcoming space for blind children and young people and our staff. The design is sleek, modern and energy efficient. Thank you, Team Zumtobel Group, for being such great listeners and creating an uplifting and positive environment. It has been a great pleasure working with you”.
Supporting RSBC’s noble cause, EPR Architects, Hollis Global, and Zumtobel provided all products and services free of charge.
As a result of the success of the retrofit scheme, the Zumtobel Group has been awarded the lighting project for the next office upgrade.
Omega Pro 2