Ascot Underwriting, London
Speciality insurance underwriter, Ascot, moved to its new landmark offices at 20 Fenchurch Street (the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building) in August 2014. Paul Nulty Lighting Design, working in collaboration with interior architects Aukett Swanke, developed an innovative architectural lighting design solution for the client-facing areas of the 33rd floor office space.
An important part of the design involved the creation of a dramatic lift lobby effect, giving visitors an interactive lighting experience as they approach the reception area. The design called for a tunnel of light that would follow the movement of people along the corridor, with sections of glass wall progressively lighting up in the corporate logo colours.
Artistic Licence was brought in to provide the technical solution for this demanding brief. Given the challenges of the project, a scaled mock-up model of the system was built and approved by the client before work commenced on the actual installation.
The effect was achieved using a series of custom-built light boxes containing LED fixtures, along with an array of hidden motion sensors along the floor level of the corridor. Based on a practical analysis of typical walking speeds and pace lengths, the sensors were fine-tuned to ensure that the LEDs were triggered at a rate that produced a pleasing dynamic response.
The Artistic Licence interface product, Common-Sense, enabled the sensor information to be fed to the Colour-Tramp lighting controller in real time. An Ether-Lynx II rack-mount product dealt with the distribution of the network and DMX512 control data, while dozens of Rail-Pipe HC constant voltage drivers took care of the LED dimming.
The installation was recognised in the 2015 Lighting Design Awards – as Highly Commended workplace project of the year.