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Light Bureau Complete Pret A Manger New Concept Store

03-04-2011 12:14 PM CET | Industry, Real Estate & Construction

Press release from: Light Bureau

Doors have recently opened on the sandwich company’s latest shop on New Oxford Street in London’s Bloomsbury district.

Light Bureau, working with Pret’s in-house design, creative and property team and with restaurant and retail specialists, David Collins Studio, have delivered a fresh lighting concept to this key London outlet for the Pret chain.

Forming part of a wider brief to update the company’s interior and lighting concept, Light Bureau worked with the new palette conceived as part of the design and in particular, the brickwork wall finishes. Pret’s brief to Light Bureau made a strong point of improving permeability from outside to inside. In order to overcome the common problem of a glass shop-front becoming a mirror to the street and therefore not revealing the interior store, the vertical surfaces were deemed key in achieving this objective. The brick finish brings a much welcomed feeling of comfort to the Pret shop and was seen by Light Bureau as a perfect medium for lighting at close off-set in order to emphasise the texture and form. A perimeter cove with simple concealed warm white fluorescent batten sources creates this effect.

Another design innovation at New Oxford Street is the addition of a contemporary soft seating area; the new shop has lounge style seating in the back areas to encourage customers to dwell and relax and adjacent, a central dining area which can be used for business meetings or large groups as well as the large take-away at the entrance to the shop. During the concept phase, to develop a toolkit for all stores, Light Bureau explored all that’s best in current lighting including emerging lamp technology. The finished project at New Oxford Street consists largely of established sources, mainly compact metal halide and concealed fluorescent with some LED in point of sale and amenity areas. Solid state lighting was investigated for a broader use but in terms of quality and impact, discharge light sources proved to work best at creating the comfort, visual impact and energy objectives at a sustainable price-point. As a company, Pret are very energy and ecologically aware. Light Bureau were challenged to find effective ways of improving the performance of their store lighting and will continue as technology improves to migrate lamp sources to ever-more sustainable types.

As one would expect, Pret’s program from start on site to opening its doors to customers was very quick, approximately 7 weeks from taking ownership including the design phase. This procurement puts pressure on availability of product and one eye had to remain on roll-out for future stores. iGuzzini Lighting were specified for most of the ambient and accent lighting, delivering product and support in good measure.

The completed store achieves exactly what the design team set out to provide, specifically a comfortable and convivial environment in which to eat and relax. Customers who regularly eat at Pret A Manger become very loyal to the chain because the food is good and the service is fast and polite. They therefore have usually eaten at many other stores around the country – there are currently over 210 stores – and are therefore very familiar with the typical feel of a Pret store. Without exception, customers asked have been really positive about the New Oxford Street store and local regular customers have indicated that this is their favourite store for its combination of comfort and convenience. The client is now looking to use and develop concepts established at New Oxford Street. Pret A Manger’s Head of International Design - Matthew Wilson had this to say: “new ideas which could have taken six stores to develop successfully have worked well on this project by everyone working hard together. We are really happy with the finished result”. Light Bureau is proud of its contribution to the success of this new concept.

Client: Pret A Manger
Interior Design: David Collins Studio
Light Bureau Designers: Duncan Hamilton, Paul Traynor
Photography Credits: Paul Traynor

Light Bureau is an independent lighting design consultancy based in London. Established as indigo light planning in 1999, the practice has become one of Europe's leading creative lighting consultancies.

Paul Nulty
Light Bureau
7F Hewlett House
Havelock Terrace
t) 0207 498 6111

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