Conran and Partners
Mark Major, Andrew Howis
The lighting brief at Skylon was to create the contemporary style and elegance associated with a Conran Restaurant (now D&D London) while remaining in keeping with the 1950s Modernist style of its host building, the Royal Festival Hall, and working within the tight restrictions of a Grade I listing. The client also asked for intimacy in what is otherwise a cavernous space.
The centrepiece of the solution was the design of the chandeliers. Suspended within the space, they break up the height of the room, but their slim elliptical form ensures that they are not overbearing. Winches permit higher suspension in summer to create an airy feel and lower suspension in winter to increase the sense of intimacy. White light sources concealed within the chandeliers were chosen to complement daylight, which then cross-fade across to the warmth of amber sources during the evening. Using forms and materials drawn from the original interior design, the chandeliers sit comfortably within the Modernist interior. As the most prominent part of the overall design, they have become synonymous with the restaurant’s identity.
Around the chandeliers, a very light touch was applied to the main architectural elements of the room with simple accenting of the columns and the rear cove. Additional intimacy was created through the use of table and floor lamps, bar lighting and oil lamps, and bespoke window fittings were designed to emphasise the curvature of the glazed façade. The window lighting was made with the aim of minimising reflections in the glazing after dark, which would otherwise obscure the magnificent views.