Barbican Apartment Ec1, Private Residence, London
co designed with carl gardner, csg consultancy limited

This modern apartment is on the 21st floor of one of the listed Barbican towers. Tonkin Liu Architects had designed the interior about two years previously in a contemporary, minimalist style, with a restrained blue-grey and white colour scheme. The new lighting had to complement this style – the owners wanted to preserve the spare, geometric, angular aesthetic of the interior, which had no artworks, or curved or circular features. The spaces within the apartment could be closed off, or opened up to each other, using an ingenious sliding-door/panel system, so the lighting had to be flexible to cater for different uses and moods. A major constraint was that all the lighting equipment had to be surface-mounted or free-standing, because the ceiling and floor of the Barbican are solid concrete.

We proposed a twin rod low-voltage system configured to suit the shapes of the rooms, from which adjustable spotlights and delicate glass drops were mounted over the dining tables. Concealed coloured (blue) linear fluorescents were installed to softly wash the ceilings; whilst large floor-standing illuminated cubes and other decorative fixtures added local light and focus. To illuminate the work surfaces discreet recessed downlights were integrated into furniture units. In the bedrooms programmable LED lighting was neatly built into the bed to wash the wall with saturated colour, and adjustable bedside lights were supplied for reading. The bathroom frosted-glass lights were controlled via infra-red sensor switches, turning them on and off as the occupants entered and exited.

All the lighting, apart from that in the bathrooms, was controlled by a Lutron Grafik Eye control system, offering a range of different pre-set ‘scenes’ which could be called up by the occupant.

Lighting Design Award 2004 Finalist

Architect. Tonkin Liu Architects
Photography. Carl Gardner & Bruce Hemming

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