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Hitting the bottle: innovative lighting design for wine-themed restaurant

Sexton’s is a new-build venue in the charismatic old corn exchange building. The tasteful conversion and cool contemporary design has retained many original features including the vaulted ceilings and original beamwork.

LTP’s Terry Reeves was asked to design and specify a lighting scheme by HSP Architects from Leighton Buzzard, who oversaw the build. The independent owner is Stuart Sexton, who also owns a wholesale wine importation business. He was keen to make Sexton’s a unique destination venue for the local area, known for its inventive gastronomy, refined design and excellent ambience. He fully understands how value and atmosphere can be added to the space by good lighting.

The 5 metre wide by 2 metre high stainless steel wine rack dominates the area behind the bar. Reeves’ brief was to come up with an innovative and effective way of lighting it, thereby making it a central feature of the room.

He chose full colour-changing LEDs lighting in the form of twelve 1200mm i-Vision Lumos strips, which light through the rack, creating a general aura with the different colours rippling through the bottles. The different wines take the light differently, starting at the bottom, blending in to the whites and roses, and continuing to the top, where it reflects off the darker, denser hues of the reds.

To create glints of texture on the stainless steel struts at the front of the structure, the whole rack is front lit by four 50 Watt Aureol image projectors with break up gobos, attached to the structural beams in the ceiling. Control is by an Artistic Licence Light Switches, a configurable outstation that’s programmed up with a series of automated cues.

Sexton’s main entrance is to the rear of the building through the car park. To draw attention to the doorway and make it inviting, Reeves chose four 1200mm IP67 Lumos strips with 6 x 25 degree optics to produce a double-layered effect. These highlight the painted sign above through up-lighting with a further length of 1200mm of non-optic strip down-lighting the entrance. “The idea is that people are enveloped in colour and anticipation before they even enter the restaurant” explains Reeves.

There are also two Meyer Superlights with radial anti-glare louvres which lift the light levels in the immediate area around the entrance.

Guests enter through the main vestibule, where Reeves has had 10 ColorKinetics MRG2 white LED fixtures ensconced into the ceiling – in two rows of 5 either side of the space. These are effectively MR16 warm whites (3200_K), chosen because of their soft, even output.

There is also a passageway entrance into and out of Sextons off the High Street to the front of the building. This needed accenting to draw people’s attention, but it also needed to be subtle and not to spill or pollute the actual street. Reeves came up with the lateral idea of neatly illuminating the passageway with 6 well positioned IP67 rated colour-changing Lumos 25 degree wall wash fixtures which flash through a sequence adding colour and interest.

A second floor sign out the front is key lit by two small down-lighting warm white Lumos strips with 6×25 deg optics carefully placed on top of the sign.

Reeves says, “The originally specified scheme went through to handover without any dilution from budget constraints, etc., which is very refreshing. To specify and supply a lighting scheme like this in a market area where we are making new inroads is fantastic, and we look forward to working with Sexton’s again in the future”.