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Collingwood the obvious choice for estate agency’s grand, iconic new offices

When Sowerbys opened its grandest and most impressive office to date, the company had a vision of creating something unique and special that was far from your average estate agents – and tastefully lighting the centuries-old building in the heart of Norwich city centre was a key part of that process.

As the former workspace of Norwich’s most famous architect, Edward Boardman, the building was bound to be beautiful. In keeping with its reputation for quality, Sowerbys always looks for unique, character buildings when opening a new branch, but the Old Bank of England Court is about as good as it gets.

When CEO Max Sowerby secured the building, it was a dream come true. Since then it has been lovingly returned to its former glory. And after spending several months painstakingly restoring every detail, there was no way he was going to scrimp on the final, and most important finishing touch.

So determined to do the building justice and to show it off in the best possible light, Max turned to Collingwood Lighting to illuminate both the interior and exterior of the iconic property.

“My vision was to bring the country agency to the city and to convert this near derelict three-storey building into not just an office, but an exclusive ladies and gentleman’s club where our clients can come and sit in beautiful surroundings,” Max said.

“It wasn’t until I started talking to the electricians that I really learned about how lighting can actually create such an atmosphere. The electrician advised me to go with Collingwood because it works really well and you basically get what you pay for. He said I’d get the lighting I want and in the nicest possible way wouldn’t be seeing him again because the products will carry on working.”

Collingwood Lighting expert Gemma Wilshire worked with the contractor to select the mix of Collingwood products that would best achieve Max’s aims for different parts of the building.

Gemma explained: “We chose the WLO75s for some of the exterior lighting. This gives a really nice beam angle up the side of the wall so it lets people see how tall the building is and of an evening really makes the building stand out, which is what we wanted to achieve there.”

“The main down lighters we’ve used are the H2Pro and the H4FF, both of which are IP65 and fully fire rated. We found the H2Pro with a 60 degree angle was perfect for office spaces.”

Some areas, including the beautiful architectural features, needed only a delicate wash of lighting.

Max said: “Whether it was one of our 16th century fireplaces, or the church wall, it just needed some nice delicate lighting, not big lighting, and it worked really well.

“What I like about the communal area lighting is that it’s up there but you don’t see it as such. The lighting has done exactly what I wanted it to do - it’s there but you’re not aware of it. There are cheaper alternatives but you get what you pay for. My experience working with Collingwood so far has been absolutely brilliant.”

The easy fit and ongoing reliability of Collingwood products also makes them a firm favourite with electricians.

Paul Flint, of Norfolk Flint Ltd, worked on the Sowerbys project. He said: “There are certain products on the market that look good but feel very tinny, very lightweight and almost fragile; they look good, but they’re not. You can buy cheaper products that look the same, but they’re not the same.”

Gemma added: “The seven-year extended warranty we offer on Collingwood products is so important, purely because from a contractor’s point of view it’s a ‘fit and forget’; they can fit it and forget about it because they know the quality is there to back up what we are selling.

“When they hear the Collingwood name and brand they all know it is quality they are getting.”

The overall result is really something rather special. When he set out on this latest venture, together with business partner Lloyd Sandy, Max was determined to create something that was more than your average estate agents’ office and they have certainly delivered.

Old Bank of England Court is the epitome of luxury and comfort, offering an exceptional customer experience with a client’s club lounge, boardroom and concierge service.

“There is a lot of competition in estate agency in the city and I knew if Sowerbys expanded into Norwich, we needed to be able to offer something special for customers. I believe we have achieved this and much more, and Collingwood Lighting played a key part in that process,” Max added.

The Halston Aparthotel, Carlisle - A Case Study

Tatton Park 2014

Thursday, 09 October 2014

A pastry chef turned garden designer scooped the silver gilt medal at this year’s RHS Garden show at Tatton Park with a garden design that incorporated a lighting scheme from Collingwood Lighting.

Belinda Belt from Greenbelt Landscape designed ‘Vogue’ on behalf of the British Association of Landscape Industries as a tranquil retreat for adults to unwind and relax. The garden, described by BBC’s Gardeners’ World, as a perfect outdoor space for a ‘swanky’ restaurant or hotel featured as its centre-piece a back-lit stencilled flower - crafted from a single piece of York stone – and paved catwalk with six semi mature trees underplanted with contemporary grasses and perennials.

The garden’s versatility was further enhanced with the inclusion of a lighting scheme from Collingwood Lighting. To highlight the texture and movement of the planting, each tree was individually lit with a Collingwood SL220A spike light.

Equivalent to a 20w halogen lamp, the 3w LED luminaire was chosen for its ‘go anywhere’ approach and flexible beam angles. Reflecting the ‘minimal maintenance’ garden concept, the lights are manufactured in anodised aluminium for longevity and come complete with a robust outdoor mains cable for easy connection.

The inspiration for the Vogue garden design came from fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, famed for both his love of outdoor entertaining as demonstrated in his own garden in Florence, and his award winning fashion design. Belinda combined these two elements to create her award winning garden design.

One key area that enthused Belinda was the use of stencils in Cavalli’s perfume bottles. This was translated into the decorative stencil feature internally lit by a Collingwood LEDLINE 400 washing light bar. With an output of 16w, equivalent to a 50w halogen, the Collingwood Ledline was chosen for its ability to produce a powerful beam of light.

According to Belinda, ‘there were a number of reasons for adding lighting to the scheme. The main ones being the ambiance created by external lighting extends the use of the garden into the evening as well as improving the security of the property.’

She continued, ‘the choice of Collingwood to supply the lighting scheme was based on the need to have a reliable quality product that reflected the construction qualities of the garden. It was also important to have a supplier that provided a high level of customer service as well as offering technical help and support – especially at the design stage’

A final thought from Belinda. ‘As a garden designer I am acutely aware the impact lighting can have on outdoor space. I also believe, it is something that should be considered at the concept stage rather than as an after-thought. To have an in – house design team, such as the one at Collingwood, create a lighting scheme and offer advice on product suitability is invaluable.

Creating 21st Century lighting in an 18th Century setting

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Installing modern day lighting in a Grade II listed building is always going to be a challenge.

This was the task that Matt Kelsing from Surrey based Lime Electrics faced when he won the contract to install external lighting at the 18th Century Old House, in the ancient Hampshire village of Crondall.

As Crondall is within a conservation area, one of the biggest challenges facing Matt was supplying products that were sympathetic to the heritage of the area while responding to the needs of the 21st Century.

As the ‘Old House’ retains much of its classical period features and mix of formal and informal gardens it was imperative that the external lighting scheme was both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Matt turned to major UK LED manufacturer, Collingwood Lighting, to enable him to achieve this. As Matt says, “Once we had the design plan in place it was essential we were able to supply products that not only fulfilled the specification but also exceeded them. This is where Collingwood came in”

He continued, “We knew we had to ensure total consistency in light output, longevity and most importantly, ease of installation and Collingwood ticked all the boxes. To start with the owners wanted clearly lit pathways but without obtrusive lighting columns”

Collingwood’s Iroko bollard lights fitted the bill perfectly. At just 1m high, the three wide angle high powered 1W LEDs throw out a bright 110° pool of low level light and being ‘straight to mains’ are easy to install.

Another consideration was to reinforce the tranquillity of the area, despite being less than 35 miles from London. To emphasise this, Matt installed a number of Collingwood LED ground and wall lights, to highlight the many attractive exterior features. These included the GL038A ground light and GL034A hooded wall / ground lights – all direct to mains and all manufactured with a stainless steel facia for easy maintenance and longevity.  

Also, with such an array of garden features to be lit, flexibility is the name of the game; the reason for choosing Collingwood’s linear FL200 LED flood light. With a beam angle of 50° and 9 high powered LEDs the light is thrown over long distances, ideal for lighting trees.  The FL200 has an anodised aluminium body and waterproof mains connector making it weatherproof no matter where it’s positioned.

Collingwood Lighting (www.collingwoodlighting.com) supplied all the products for the lighting scheme through CDR Electrical (www.cdrelectrical.co.uk) with installation by Lime Electrics (www.limeelectrics.co.uk)


Monday, 09 June 2014

Collingwood Lighting was recently called on to supply its LED solutions to the historic Castle Howard, near York. The setting for popular period dramas such as Brideshead Revisited, the stately home required lighting that would help to emphasise much of the beautiful architecture and artwork on offer.

Home to the Howard family for over 300 years, Collingwood Lighting’s LEDs were specified throughout the house; in the Great Hall, China landing, gift shop and Castle Howard’s impressive chapel. Being primarily specified to illuminate many of the displays on offer, Collingwood was also required to provide a lighting solution that was both energy efficient and environmentally sound – something that was pivotal to the vision of the owner – the Hon. Simon Howard – who had wanted to update his home’s lighting to LED for some time.

In the Great Hall and China landing, 20 of Collingwood’s LEDLINE 400 light bars were installed, perfectly highlighting certain aspects of the rooms whilst also providing bright, wall-washing light. In the gift shop, Collingwood’s Starstrip LEDs were used since they can be concealed in cornices and wall cavities, providing clear illumination wherever it is needed.

With the chapel at Castle Howard housing some of its most impressive artwork, including the stained glass and gilt detailing by Edward Burne-Jones, Mr Howard had been keen to illuminate it for some time. Having remained untouched for over 160 years, it was more important then ever to ensure that the lighting solution was sympathetic and remained largely unobtrusive. As such, Collingwood Lighting supplied 22 of its FL200 floodlights; the universal fitting bathing the chapel in clear, natural light, showcasing the impressive designs on display.

Commenting on Collingwood’s work, the Hon. Simon Howard said: “It had long been an ambition to light the chapel so that visitors could see it in all its glory and Collingwood Lighting’s LED solutions have allowed us to do that, with many visitors coming especially to see the space and the details that have been highlighted. Due to Collingwood’s work in other areas of the house, we knew they would deliver excellent results and be successful in making sure that all fixtures and fittings were as unobtrusive as possible while achieving maximum effect.”


Friday, 01 February 2013

Collingwood Lighting’s products and expertise have successfully been put to good use on a number of public sector, private residential and commercial projects, perhaps most notably of which as part of a multi million pound development at Newcastle University.

Collingwood’s products were installed as part of a £300 million development at Newcastle University. James Davison at Atkins, lighting designer for the works, explained: “The project is part of the University’s Coherent Campus and sustainability programme which aims to improve the spaces between buildings to create a sense of place that is welcoming, with well designed and well linked social spaces.

“The challenge was to find a solution which provided a space which fitted with the landscape architects, university, conservation and planners - due to the sensitive nature of the surrounding buildings, as the University is steeped in history, dating back to 1834. Everything from the diameter and colour of the cable sheath to the protrusion and visibility of the fittings was submitted in detail alongside hand drawn sketches and temporary installations to demonstrate the scheme.”

Barry Hutchinson at Atkins, co-lighting designer of the scheme, observed: “The works exclusively utilised energy efficient LEDs from Collingwood Lighting, which are virtually maintenance free with excellent colour rendering. They are also significantly smaller than the traditional discharge lamp fittings. The colour rendering is particularly important as it emphasises the light/dark contrast and picks out more detail in the subjects to be illuminated.”

The entire site was built up using 3D modelling software to plan calculate and demonstrate not only the lighting levels achieved but also the effects of the proposed luminaries. This was backed up by numerous night visits to site in all weathers where temporary lighting rigs were established to enable final setting out details to be confirmed and demonstrate the expected effect of the proposals.

The project involved the use of a wide range of techniques and installations due to the number of contrasting building styles. A total of 91 Collingwood Lighting LEDs comprising a selection of universal, powerful and adjustable Luxeon LED ground fittings were installed. Combining sleek aesthetics; stainless steel brackets with outstanding LED light output and a rating of IP68, meaning they can be fully submersed, the fittings were ideally suited to complement the University’s architectural form.

Strategically placed around the perimeter of the University, the lighting solution highlights particular prominent features from decorative paving, challenging staircases, colourful foliage and tree pits, street furniture, artwork and sculptures, which all assume space between a mélange of listed buildings.

Len White of the University added: “The result is an improved and more uniform lighting scheme with vastly enhanced colour rendering. The lighting scheme is maintenance free due with a reduction in energy use when compared to ‘traditional’ discharge lamp schemes, successfully meeting the brief.”

Well suited for use in commercial applications, Collingwood’s lighting solutions work just as well in private residential projects too, as can be seen in the recently completed Long House project in Lindsey, Suffolk.

Used to deliver both practical and decorative lighting throughout the building, a series of Collingwood’s LED ground lights and uplighters have been used in both indoor and outdoor applications.

A combination of Collingwood’s GL008 and GL038A were used to highlight elements of the stunning exterior fascia and gardens – being installed outside, these ground lights in particular were used due to their robust nature. Combining toughened walk over safety glass and marine grade stainless steel these exterior fittings made perfect sense. The LEDs themselves can also be specifically angled to focus on the chosen element - in this case to illuminate the front of the building and several trees within the beautifully landscaped garden.

Internally, Collingwood’s GL019 and GL040 LEDs were used to help draw special attention to period features including beams, walls, stairs and doors. Manufactured with an attractive stainless steel finish, these fittings offer an outstanding aesthetic that works well with the surrounding décor of The Long House.

Ipswich based electrical contractor, Electricare Contractors Ltd worked on the project and Director, Ben Allen was instrumental in gaining Collingwood the specification. He said: “We were looking to achieve an energy efficient solution and wanted fixtures that weren’t intrusive once in place. As lighting specialists, working on projects from the very first consultation through to handover, we consult with the client directly to ensure we deliver a tailored solution to meet their needs. Owing to our all-encompassing approach, applying careful consideration to the lighting/technical design before carrying out the actual lighting installation, we are able to eliminate the need for separate designers and electrical installers to be involved. With these points in mind, we selected Collingwood’s discreet yet powerful, GL range of LEDs as we were confident they would be right for the job.

These were ideal for this project as it was possible to achieve varying lighting levels, depending on where the lights themselves were installed. A series of the GL038A LEDs for example, were used to light up several trees surrounding the house. These flood lights run at just 4W, yet supplied ample output to light the trees to stunning effect – offering an energy efficient solution that achieved the desired result. From an aesthetic perspective, we were able to blend the contemporary look of the lights with the traditional appeal of the building by using modern stainless steel fittings against a traditional oak backdrop – this delivered a stunning end result.”

He continued: “By using indoor or outdoor fittings where required, we were able to use the same LEDs throughout which is testament alone to their versatility. This helped speed up the installation process for us meaning we were able to complete the project in good time – a point of particular note considering the residential nature of the project.”

From an energy saving perspective, Collingwood Lighting really comes into its own – by changing existing fittings at the Royal & Derngate Theatre for a selection of its own LEDs, Collingwood has helped the theatre achieve a staggering 50% reduction in utility costs from when the project commenced.

Mike Chisholm, maintenance technician at Royal and Derngate Theatre said: “For any theatre, the lighting scheme is crucial to enhance the visitor’s experience. Added to this, the large electricity bills a building of this size incurs meant we had to address the current lighting design.

“Over the last four years we have been installing LEDs from specialists Collingwood Lighting around the building, which has culminated in a saving of over £35,000 a year already.”

The revamp of its lighting technology is still in progress as Royal & Derngate replace all the dichroic GU10 fittings across the building. The switch to Collingwood is intensive and already incorporates all of its foyers, bars, the Royal corridors and auditorium pass corridors.

The theatre has replaced its old dichroic 50W fittings with a combination of LED’s from Collingwood’s portfolio, including the LL030’s and LL090’s and 21 Watt PowerLED ARIII light units, along with the replacement of 70W HT fittings with 18W LED linear bars. In addition, strip lighting was substituted with high powered light source RGB flexible strip led lighting.

“The size of our building is one million square feet and we are now fully into Band B rated 40. Four years ago we were in Band D rated 100, and this would of course be typical of a building of our size. From our latest electricity bill, it works out we have a 50 percent saving compared with four years ago, which is tremendous,” Mike added.

“Our next project was the main auditorium, where we still had 100 50W dichroic lights. By changing them to a 6W Collingwood LL090 LED flood light, we will save 4.4kilowatt-hours over an 18-hour day.

The pay back was quick - just by replacing 100 dichroic in that space we saved a further £3,000 a year on our bill.”

Combined with this, the theatre’s maintenance costs have been reduced and lighting quality improved throughout the building. The average lifespan of a dichroic unit is between 2,000 and 4,000 hours, which equates to approximately three to four individual lamp changes per year. Having replaced this with the high quality LEDs, the theatre has saved over £600 on new lamps so far, decreasing labour costs previously associated with constant re-lamping.

Mike Chisholm adds: “It’s good for the environment in other ways too, as we are also saving on carbon emissions. With the increased life of the units we aren’t contributing to landfill - or being charged for recycling lamps. In addition, the low heat of the LED units means a much lower fire risk.”