Lighting design for businesses

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Transforming a Tunnel

The Boathouse

Spella Case Study page

The challenge


The Boathouse shop at Richmond upon Thames is a specialist boutique selling olive oil, honey and wines from Crete. The building is essentially a 12m long tunnel with daylight at one end only, opening on to an attractive riverside walk.

Lighting was an interesting challenge as the scheme had to provide a practical work and retail environment that could be seen easily by passers-by outside.

Our solution

Flexibility was essential for the changing displays of stock, and the lighting needed to create a warm atmosphere to mirror the merchandise and its title ‘Liquid Gold Cave’. The main lighting is mounted on a 3-circuit track running the length of the showroom, with two sets of LED spotlights that can be separately switched and dimmed.

General illumination is provided by wide-angle spotlights plus narrow-beam spots that can be directed at merchandise areas. Accent lighting is provided by LED strip set into the wood at the back of the shelves to illuminate the stock from above and behind.

Background lighting is provided by wall up-lights which wash light up both sides of the curved ceiling.

Our lighting scheme provides variety and contrast that can highlight changing displays of merchandise as required.

Technical highlights


Versatility: lighting to suit both normal retail and special events


All lighting is energy-efficient, with minimal maintenance requirement


Total lighting load only 540 Watts = 13.5W per sq metre

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Function and style

The far end of the tunnel is lit as an office, while the main section has display lighting for a smart showroom. The illuminance in the boutique adapts to the time of day: bright enought for merchandise to be seen in sunlight, but softened during the hours of darkness so that there is not too extreme a contrast with the unlit riverside walk outside.

What our clients said

“The new lighting scheme is so adaptable that we now have the opportunity to try different things. For example, we can run events in the shop, such as olive oil tastings, which we never could have done before. We’re really delighted with the way everything has worked out.”

Adaptable and efficient

Our lighting scheme provides variety and contrast in this unusual space, and can be easily be adapted to highlight the changing displays of merchandise. It has also allowed the owners to develop new business opportunities with tastings and events.

Unit 3, T U House
Thorpe Underwood

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