It’s in Rome that Gap is opening a new store. This new flagship store occupies a 1930s building with a flying staircase and triple-height spaces. The challenge for lighting consultant Light and Design Associates was to show the merchandise to its very best advantage and make the Gap brand speak eloquently in this dramatic interior. Jill Entwistle reports
Lee Prince of Light and Design Associates (LDA) says that it’s necessary to respect the psychology of the brand when you start a project.
• “The first thing you have to do is get under the skin and work out how they’re selling their product and who they’re marketing it to,” he says.
• “Using light, you can enhance the experience and direct people. Lighting designers who don’t pay heed to what they’re delivering and just think about the lights are missing a trick.”
The Gap flagship store in Rome, the retailer’s first in Italy, is a voluminous space, dominated by a flying staircase. This became a key psychological feature of the overall scheme.
• “When you walk into a space with a flying staircase you’re encouraged to look up, it’s a natural response,” says Prince.
• “So we wanted to frame the staircase to make it look as if the ceiling and the staircase were leading to the same vanishing point. The aim was to provide visual stimulation and a clear vertical link to the upper floors.”
This was achieved with LEDs which allow artificial skylight that mirrors the dimensions of the stairs.
• “The skylight articulates the space more, and gives it a lift. We also wanted to break up the ceiling a bit, instead of it being just track and spot.”