Lighting takes centre stage at Readings Emporium, a bookstore that harnesses illumination to heighten mood and behavioural responses. It’s lighting that takes the intersection of architecture and retail design to an exciting frontier.

The over-arching goal of the lighting design was to provide a space that felt was so inviting and comfortable that one could live in it. This was born from an ethos that sought to encourage visitors to browse at their own leisure, and one that fostered an absolute timelessness. Of equal importance, was to still manage to make product the hero. After all, they’re in the business of selling books.

The project showcase is the huge 35m x 3m unique multi-luminaire frame running along the main bookshelf aisle. Innovative and intricate lighting system or gigantic display grid that creatively pushes elements of illumination into exciting areas? Designed as a series of independent furniture creations, it turns the joinery into a cutting-edge unification of illumination executions.

These encompass four layers, including the custom feature linear picture lights running along entire bookshelf, uplighting with wall washing along back of grid, adjustable surface mounted spots that provide gallery-like focus to the front of the product and the delicate design of skirting lighting at the base of the grid. This was created to subversively encourage a feeling of weightlessness through a perception the fixture is floating.

There are light-focused pools in common walkways, with illumination gently grazing and caressing the communal benches, hidden reading nooks and other secret spots where one is encouraged to escape.

The child’s area was less intense and focused, featuring a wash of natural light and broad artificial light to create a feeling of sitting outside.

Overall, a wonderful case study in how functional, focused and emotive illumination can not only elevate the customer experience but also the design.

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