London-based events company Camm and Hooper has created a glamorous events, exhibition, dinner and conference venue at the Banking Hall, at the heart of the Square Mile, the city’s historic finance district. The art deco former Lloyds Bank building’s refurbishment by interior designer Russell Sage Studios includes state-of-the-art lighting, sound, AV and internet facilities that have transformed the Banking Hall’s Grade II-Listed main hall and mezzanine. The lighting design by Victoria Jerram incorporates remote-controlled LED spotlights that play a crucial role in both the interior design and in adapting the space for a fast-changing variety of events.
“Camm and Hooper is all about creating amazing events through design, food and service in iconic buildings in central London,” explains managing director Claire Lawson. ‘”When we were offered the opportunity to view Banking Hall we were blown away by its heritage, style and current misuse. The offering – a restaurant – did nothing to celebrate this amazing space and we knew that if we could have it, we would create a magnificent venue.”
Camm and Hooper had worked with RSS on the successful launch of the Tanner & Co bar and restaurant warehouse venue near London Bridge in 2013. “Russell Sage of RSS, and I discussed how we might enhance the Banking Hall and how lighting would play an integral part so that people immediately got the ‘wow’ factor as they walked through the doors,” continues Claire.
“It was important that while celebrating the architectural features of the building – the beautiful pillars and roof particularly – our clients would have very specific and flexible needs for lighting everything from stage sets to tables, and would want to be able to adapt colour to suit the time of day as well as their company colours.
“Sage introduced me to Victoria Jerram and I was immediately struck by how tuned into our thinking she was. We explained that we would want to be able to control the lighting easily and efficiently, changing the tone and mood for each event depending on the client.
“We can have a breakfast meeting with seminar, lunch with awards, dinner and presentation, stand-up events for 950 people, each with a different specification and at different times of the day where light didn’t stand still. It was important that we were able to showcase the lighting to our clients as well as make it easy for our in-house production team, sales team and external production team to use.”
“Camm and Hooper wanted to create different moods and have different events including formal dinners, parties and fashion shoots in the day or at night,” says Victoria, who would have to work within the refurbishment’s tight, three-month timeframe and conservation rules.
“There were a number of constraints: it was a Listed interior so we had to deal with English Heritage on that aspect. I looked at how other venues had approached this and found that while some looked fabulous they had spent a fortune on it.
“The way I approached it instead was to build layers of light so that you have general lighting for the finishing kitchen, main hall and conference services; architectural lighting to do the interior more justice and pick out architectural features, and a layer of theatrical lighting on top of that with colour changing and to add dynamism. I decided to use remote-controlled spotlights in the main hall for table spotting and to pick up key elements of the architecture.”
Victoria specified a number of Remote Controlled Lighting’s Director DR2 and DR7 LED spotlights. They can be directed and refocused from the floor using handheld wireless controllers, enabling staff to reconfigure the lighting for different occasions without the need for scaffolding or ladders, saving time and reducing costs. They are also widely used in locations such as hotel ballrooms where fast turnaround is required.
“Using the RCL handheld controller, the client is able to save group settings once regular table layouts have been established,” Victoria explains. “The DR2s hang off a lighting rig for the main hall where a cherry picker would have had to be used. In the mezzanine, which has a lower ceiling height, it is beneficial to be able to save settings for different types of event because they change frequently. The lighting had to be remote-controlled to be flexible enough.”
The Director DR2 is a surface-mounted remote-controlled spotlight, adjustable in pan, tilt and dim level. Victoria specified 38 DR2 spotlights with custom hook clamps to avoid damage the fabric of the building. The 20W LED version – which is five times more efficient than an equivalent halogen lamp – has a choice of beam widths from a very narrow 8° through to 24°.
It is available with a colour temperature of 3000K and a colour rendering of greater than CRI 90 as standard. The scheme uses a further 18 DR7 spotlights. The DR7 is a fully recessed remote-controlled spotlight, an innovative pan and tilt technology, which means no physical components protrude below the ceiling line – ideal for where discretion is key. As with the DR2, the DR7 can be fully adjusted in pan, tilt and dim level.
The RCL spotlights have sufficient ‘throw’ to cope with the 27m x 14m main hall’s lofty ceiling height of 10.8m. They project an inviting, warm white light with a colour temperature of 3000K to contrast with the hall’s existing backlit ‘skylight’.
“With colour temperature, I wanted the artificial lighting to be very warm and to emulate candlelight with features that might be perceived as daylight such as the existing backlit ceiling,” says Victoria. “There was a push by the design team to change the colour of the fluorescent tubes, but I felt that by keeping the backlit ceiling cool white gave the daylight element.
“The other historic lighting is gelled so that it is warmer and closer to the gaslight. The torchères and so on were all converted to compact fluorescent in the 1980s when the Banking Hall had an earlier refurb, but that was all too cool. The 3000K remote controlled lighting provides contrast and gives definition. The in-ground uplights in the dining hall are an extra warm white.”
In addition to the historic fittings, the architectural and ambiant lighting is used in combination with theatrical lighting and audiovisual equipment. The pre-existing Mode Evolution lighting control system for the mezzanine has been absorbed into a larger system with an ETC desk as a slave control system, both to save money and for sustainability, Victoria notes.
The lighting control system designed by integration specialist Control Lighting has wall mounted key pads with pre-programmed scenes and a plug-in remote controller for colour washes and column lighting to vary the atmosphere without the need for engineer visits.
“Victoria introduced us to the team and we were also struck by their expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm. Everyone wanted to see this amazing space beautifully lit,” says Claire. “We have really enjoyed working with everyone and we are absolutely delighted with the end result.”