Location: Mawnan Smith, UK
Client: Trebah Garden Trust
Collaborator: Anna Hart; MARK Product; Tom Raffield
Contractor: Hollands & Long Electrical Contractor
Completed: January 2016

Trebah Garden is home to the award winning Trebah Kitchen, a café that prides itself on its locally sourced, home-cooked food. Situated at the entrance of the gardens, the café is visually arresting, with high ceilings with exposed wooden beams, and floor-to-ceiling windows with views out into the sub-tropical gardens below. As part of Trebah's project to revitalise the café, the interior underwent a complete refit to allow it to operate more efficiently and to live up to its visual potential.

I was commissioned to design a complete overhaul of the existing lighting scheme, which was too dark and failed to take advantage of the unique architecture of this remarkable space. The aim of the project was not only to provide functional lighting but also to complement the new modern interior design, which was created by Anna Hart and features furniture from MARK Product. There are six aspects to the lighting of the café: two feature pendants, two types of wall lighting, a retail unit and general lighting.

The first of the two feature fixtures is the Seed Pendant, a focal point at the entrance of the café. The pendant is a cluster of five bone china shades of varying heights, chosen because their moulded form evokes the shape and texture of seeds. The second is a striking seven metre long chandelier which is hung above the counter; handmade by Tom Raffield, this pendant is created using sustainably sourced ash. Both pieces were chosen for the project because of their organic forms, which are in keeping with the café's garden surroundings.

Wall lighting was used in two ways: behind the counter to focus attention on the wall mounted menus, and to create visual interest in the seating areas. The menus are lit using three yellow vintage-style adjustable arm lights, while the seating areas are lit using orange uplights in the same vintage style. These cast metal fixtures add a bright pop of colour to the organic look created by the feature pendants.

The retail unit is lit using LED strip, which is recessed into the shelves and draws the eye to the locally sourced products that are on sale, such as fudge and sea salt. High level LED house lights are mounted on the ceiling between the beams, providing functional warm white lighting to the whole café. The overall effect of the new lighting scheme and interior is a bright and airy atmosphere that is more friendly and welcoming than ever; a testament to how effective design can transform a space.

Photo credits: Anthony Greenwood