Eric Kuhne & Associates
Townshend Landscape Architects
A concept render of the interior spaces
Bluewater was the largest out of town shopping development in Europe when it was built. Located in a disused chalk pit at Dartford, Kent it includes a wide variety of different retail spaces including three central shopping arcades with seating areas at each end, Welcome Halls that act as the threshold between the car parks and the malls and three distinctive ‘Villages’ that house the food and beverage offers and performance spaces. The landscape in which the centre sits is defined by the existing chalk ‘cliffs’ of the former quarry and includes roads, car parking areas, pedestrian walkways and cycle paths and landscaped lakes and parks.
The Speirs Major team undertook the lighting design of all exterior and interior public areas. The client’s brief was to enhance the experience for visitors to Bluewater after dark. We worked closely with the architectural, interior and engineering team to focus not only on creating the right atmosphere for each of the main character areas but to also carefully integrate the detail of the lighting into the project at every level. We also sought to create a consistent quality of light from the arrival sequence at the entry roundabout right through to the retail units themselves. The scheme included the idea of creating ‘families’ of specially crafted luminaires for both the internal and external realms that help to reinforce the identity of each space.
Both the overall project and its lighting won a number of awards for what is still regarded two decades later as one of the benchmarks for shopping centre design.