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Australian bank Macquarie Group's New London headquarters lighting engineering appreciation

Clive Wilkinson Architects and executive architect Pringle Brandon have recently completed the new London headquarters for Australian bank Macquarie Group. Their desire for a strong graphical identity was delivered via the creation of the internal atrium and cascading brightly coloured stair, with the additional use of applied super graphics creating layers of transparency and privacy where required. Lighting was seen as an integral part of the project from the outset and it was an all-encompassing brief that included the lighting to general offices, the trading floors, ground floor main reception, guest relations areas and the atrium and its adjoining informal breakout areas. The budget and programme were extremely tight with only a year for the project to be designed and constructed. It was therefore a collaborative process with the client, design team and contractor. As the recession took hold in London so did the budget, with money being spent carefully and wisely; all aspects of the project were requested to contribute to find savings. The headquarters challenged the way the bank traditionally worked by creating a space which brought together a number of different aspects of their business and allowed their staff to interact with each other. Surrounding the atrium and staircase, a series of break-out spaces with staff facilities created an atmosphere of inter-connectivity and social interaction. These spaces jut out and overhang the atrium, giving it its three dimensional form. The red stair, which weaves its way through the atrium linking the 6 floors together, reinforces this atmosphere by allowing the flow of communication to take place in the vertical as well as on each floor. The bold use of the red colour for the staircase provides the atrium with a strong visual identity which is further reinforced by a wash of red illumination. To create the carpet of red light, individual red LEDs were integrated into the stair raiser adjacent to each tread. Energy consumption has lowered as using the lift is eschewed in favour of the colourful, social stair; some staff even traverse all 6 floors to attend a meeting. The design has met the expectations of the client and users alike by altering the way people view their working environment, and as a result, changing company practices for the better. Pringle 6 6

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