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.
Samsung, Seoul, South Korea
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
Alula Lighting Design, Toronto
Structure Corp., Etobicoke, Ontario
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Photography: Bob Gundu, Toronto