Location: Penryn, UK
Client: Robotmother
Architects: Marraum
Collaborator: Mark and Loz Shipwrights
Completed: November 2013

A creative company requires a creative office space, and Robotmother's 'Brain of Brian' office barge in Penryn, Cornwall, is certainly that.  Built on top of a salvaged World War Two concrete barge, the unique modern structure is constructed using the latest in sustainable building techniques.

To match the multi-function purpose of the barge and fit its sustainability ethos, I was tasked with creating two key lighting schemes: functional daytime office lighting, and lighting to transform the barge into a floating landmark at night. Vitally important to the brief was creating an energy efficient lighting scheme that was still visually appealing and matched the bespoke interior of the barge - even down to the emergency lighting.

To minimise energy usage, most of the lighting in the barge is provided by LEDs. I designed functional 4,000K day lighting using LED pendants, wall lights and panels; due to the construction restrictions of this unusual build, the panels are mounted in specially made frames. Three striking cloud pendants in the reception area provide visual interest as well as differentiating the area from the functional open plan office space, and the eating area is lit by the Crane Light, a special commission which was created especially for this build.

The night lighting is provided by warmer 3,000K step lights and strip cove lighting. This cove lighting is vital; not only does it provide ambient light for the interior of the barge, but it also highlights the unusual structure of the building and creates the illusion that the sloping roof sections are floating when viewed from the outside. This is amplified by the reflection of the lit barge in the harbour on a rare still Cornish evening.

Photo credits: Graham Gaunt & Hugh Hastings