The distinctive wedge shape of the Leadenhall Building has become such an iconic landmark on the London skyline that is now popularly known as “The Cheesegrater”. The tower features a slanting glass facade on one side, which reveals steel bracings, along with a ladder frame that emphasizes the building's vertical thrust as well as anchoring it to the ground with a powerful sense of strength. Unlike other tall buildings, which typically rely on a concrete core to create stability, here, a steel megaframe, engineered by Arup provides stability throughout the whole structure. The flat side of the building is also encased in glass, and houses the mechanical services – in particular the elevator shafts. These contain the architect's hallmark - the bright orange counterweights that can be seen constantly moving up and down through the building. The Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners studio often uses this colour in service zones, such as elevator and toilet systems. Another spectacular feature is the building's 30 m high hall that is open to the public and acts as an extension to the outdoor plaza in front of it. The building's lighting design dates back to 2007, the year in which iGuzzini was asked to provide some ideas for a product to light the halls, toilets and meeting areas in the building's North Core. While previously working together with the same architect on the Terminal 4 project for Heathrow Airport, iGuzzini had designed a 'light disc' luminaire with a unique lighting effect that also suited the needs of the Leadenhall Building. A number of special Easy System samples were therefore made up to demonstrate the visual effect of the 'light disc' and these were tested in a mock-up toilet area. As a result, 2 separate versions of the luminaire were created to match the different installation materials and surfaces. The idea was approved, but following the recession in 2008, the final production step was delayed for a number of years. In 2011, when the project was restarted, the initial lighting system was maintained even if a number of adjustments were made in the installation process.
The special luminaire designed for the Leadenhall Building consists of a recessed Easy System body with a number of special attachments in which a plastic diffuser is fitted. In the corridors, toilets and general interiors in the building's North Core the luminaire has an overall diameter of 75 cm and uses 2 x 32 W compact fluorescent lamps. This creates even, diffused general lighting that ensures transit areas are safe and combines direct and indirect emissions thanks to a secondary reflector that intercepts the Easy system light flux in order to create a lighter effect on the ceiling. The same type of luminaire, designed with outdoor installation features, has also been used for the work platforms at the base of the elevators. These devices use metal halide lamps, have an overall diameter of 1.3 m, and the ceiling-mounted luminaire is a Light Up Walk Professional with a metal diffuser fitted to it. In addition to this product, Underscore luminaires have also been installed in the ceiling of what is one of London's biggest indoor plazas. These emphasize the ceiling's grid-like structure and create a background to the recessed lighting by adding to and softening the effect of the general lighting. Other devices that have been designed specifically for this project are the special Reflex recessed luminaires for the elevator access areas, an LED panel for the elevator interiors and Lineup recessed luminaires for lighting the stairs.
Working on a similar project?
Need more information?