Doors have recently opened on the sandwich company's latest new store at New Oxford Street in London's Bloomsbury district. Light Bureau, working with Pret's in-house design, creative and property team and with restaurant and retail specialists, David Collins Studio have delivered a fresh lighting concept to this key London restaurant for the Pret chain.
Forming part of a wider brief to update the company's interior and lighting concept, Light Bureau worked with the new palette conceived as part of the design and in particular, the brickwork wall finishes. Pret's brief to Light Bureau made a strong point of improving permeability from outside to inside. In order to overcome the common problem of a glass shop-front becoming a mirror to the street and therefore not revealing the interior store, the vertical surfaces were deemed key in achieving this objective. The brick finish brings a much welcomed feeling of comfort to the Pret store and was seen by Light Bureau as a perfect medium for lighting at close off-set in order to emphasise the texture and form. A perimeter cove with simple concealed warm white fluorescent batten sources creates this effect.
Another design innovation at New Oxford Street is the addition of a contemporary soft seating area; the new store has lounge seating in the front areas to encourage customers to dwell and relax and adjacent, a central dining area and take-away at the rear. Pret have always prided themselves on their position in the market as a food retailer as distinct from other chains which are primarily coffee shops with a secondary food offer. Now Pret intends to draw customers for refreshing environment as well as it's distinct and iconic image.
During the concept phase, to develop a toolkit for all stores, Light Bureau explored all that's best in current lighting including emerging lamp technology. The finished project at New Oxford Street consists largely of established sources, mainly compact metal halide and concealed fluorescent with some LED in point of sale and amenity areas. Solid state lighting was investigated for a broader use but in terms of quality and impact, discharge light sources proved to work best at creating the comfort, visual impact and energy objectives at a sustainable price-point. As a company, Pret are very energy and ecologically aware. Light Bureau were challenged to find effective ways of improving the performance of their store lighting and will continue as technology improves to migrate lamp sources to more ever-more sustainable types.