The Light in the Window

The appliance giant wanted a showcase for its only Experience Store in Canada. It got a prime Toronto location, a curving and undulating space, and it’s all lit up
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Posted September 20, 2018

Samsung Group (Seoul, South Korea) has Experience Stores throughout the world, selling the brand as much as they sell the products.

But there is a particular level of detail that went into the Samsung Experience store in Toronto – and much of it has to do with the lighting.

The 21,000-square-foot store is in the Toronto Eaton Centre at the busy intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets, across from Dundas Square. “It’s the Times Square of Toronto,” says George Foussias, Design Director of Quadrangle (Toronto), which created the store. “There are 25 million people walking around that square annually, and 8 million go inside the mall through the Samsung entrance.”

Designers used light beaming out into the square through the store’s glass-enclosed foyer at the entrance to lure passersby inside, and that’s where the critical intersection of architecture and lighting really steps up.

“The idea behind the store design was an infinity curve,” says Foussias, “an eternal organic shape that winds around the entire store, from one end to the other, never stopping, never hitting a sharp corner or a dead end.”

So, he says, the cove lighting challenge was twofold: one, to light up the entire floor evenly so there’s a continuous, uninterrupted light source; and two, lighting that accents the curvature of the design. “All the cove lights that extend through all the curves create a pathway,” Foussias says. “Walls are a soft fabric covering, highlighting the product, which is very shiny, crisp and sharp. It makes a soft, smooth background to the product.”

The cove lights are long strips of LEDs encased in silicone, so they’re flexible up and down, left and right. “It’s like a lit garden hose,” he says.

Designers also took special care to ensure the task lighting was appropriate for the products on display.

“It’s all deeply recessed lighting, with high-output/low-input LEDs,” he says, “and they’re all angled so they don’t hit any of the multitude of screens head-on. We don’t want the screens to glare.”

Also, they’re dimmable and bankable, so different effects can be created inside and out, day and night. “By day, the main lights on the floor are brightest, so people can see where they’re going,” Foussias explains. “At night, we raise the cove lighting to showcase the space. It’s retail theater.”

It’s the light fantastic. 

Don't miss Patricia Heath and George Foussias' session at VMSD's International Retail Design Conference (IRDC), Oct. 2-4 in Seattle about the new Samsung concept. The session, "Infinity Concept: The Journey of Something New," will examine how a traditionally "non-retail" company handles its store design. For more information about this session and others, visit irdconline.com.

PROJECT SUPPLIERS

Retailer
Samsung, Seoul, South Korea

Design
Quadrangle, Toronto: Jeff Hardy, Principal in Charge; George Foussias, Design Lead; Young-Kun Yoon, Project Manager; Tor McGlade; Mauro Carreno; Danial Shojaei

Mechanical & Electrical Engineers
Hidi Group, Toronto

Lighting Designer
Alula Lighting Design, Toronto

General Contractor
Structure Corp., Etobicoke, Ontario

Structural
RJC Engineers, Vancouver, British Columbia

Fixtures
Holman Exhibits, North York, Ontario
Kubik Inc., Toronto

Millwork and Fixture Materials
Richelieu, Canada
Abet Laminati, Bra, Piedmont, Italy
Nevermar, Shelton, Conn. 
DesignTex, Chicago
Manchee Leather, Port Perry, Ontario
InVue, Charlotte, N.C.
Doug Mockett & Co., Torrance, Calif.
Sherwin Williams, Cleveland

Finishes and Flooring
Alpolic Metal Composite Materials, Chesapeake, Va. 
Sherwin Williams, Cleveland
DesignTex, Chicago
Maharam, Global
Stonetile
Olympia Tile, Toronto
Relative Space, Toronto
Vorwerk, Wuppertal, Germany
Forbo, Baar, Switzerland 
Altro, Hertfordshire, U.K. 
Interface, Atlanta
Staticworx Grounded Solutions
Marble Trend, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Neolith
Metro Wallcovering
Johnsonite, Solon, Ohio
Schluter Systems, New York

Furniture
Brigholme Interiors Group, Markham, Ontario

Other
C-S Group
Architectural School Products
K.N. Crowder
Modern Fold

Photography: Bob Gundu, Toronto