Linley showroom, Pimlico

Lightworks used high-quality LED products to create a lighting scheme tailored to the needs of this high-end London furniture showroom.

Linley on Pimlico Road is one of London’s most exclusive furniture showrooms. Showcasing what it calls “the antiques of the future”, Linley’s signature style is “modern marquetry” – intricate surfaces hand-decorated using traditional methods, but with a contemporary feel. For Linley’s recent 30th anniversary refurbishment, architectural lighting specialists Lightworks designed and supplied a high-tech LED lighting system that does justice to the unique and luxurious pieces on display. Linley was founded in 1985 by David Snowdon, the son of Princess Margaret and the photographer Lord Snowdon. (Formerly known as David Linley, he inherited the Snowdon title from his father, who died in January 2017.)

Snowdon had an extraordinary upbringing: when he wasn’t in the opulent surroundings of Kensington Palace, he was at his father’s studio – which is now the Linley showroom. Linley’s creative director Carmel Allen wanted to draw on these influences as inspiration for the showroom’s new look and feel.

Allen says: “The furniture that we make and sell here is incredibly detailed and reflects that palatial side of David’s influences. So I thought it would be lovely to recreate the simplicity of the photographic studio, and keep the surroundings rather bare so that the furniture can do the talking.” Allen turned to design consultancy Brinkworth, who have created high-end retail spaces for clients including Selfridges, Ben Sherman and Sonos. They introduced the Linley team to Lightworks, who worked with the store and the designers to create the lighting. Lighting is an absolutely vital element of the store, Allen says. Her vision was for the lighting to recall the feel of a photographic studio or creative space, giving a sense of “drama”. The fittings should be visible, but not take centre stage. “A good spotlight is a design classic in its own right,” says Allen. “They don’t date, and even if you’ve got a very stylised piece of furniture underneath, they both can exist in the same space without fighting.”

In the end Brinkworth chose fittings from architectural lighting specialist Prolicht, supplied by Lightworks, and finished in a shade of dark grey to match the store’s interior. As for the quality of light, there couldn’t be any compromise. “Some of the pieces here take tens of thousands of hours to make and to finish, so getting the lighting right is really important,” Allen says. “The customers who come here are very discerning and they like to see everything in detail. Often they’re working on projects that are worth hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds, so the detail that they go into, and the inspections they make, are really incredible.”

The showroom comprises the main area at the front, a double-height atrium at the back, a mezzanine area and the downstairs club room. The main area features Prolicht’s Imagine spotlights, fitted with a deep snood to eliminate glare. A special LED chip gives an extremely high colour-rendering index of 98, ensuring that colours are rendered faithfully right across the spectrum.

The atrium, which has been used to host exhibitions of art by the likes of Jonathan Yeo and Felicity Aylieff, benefits from natural light, combined with Prolicht Centriq Large spotlights to highlight the artworks and furniture displays.
The mezzanine level, used for client meetings and presentations, is fitted with Prolicht’s Magiq trimless spotlights and wallwashers. These almost invisible linear fittings are available with 10°, 25° or 40° spotlight optics, while the Magiq Wallwash features a new ‘vertical boost’ optic designed to distribute light evenly down the full height of the walls.

The intimate club room is used for private dinners, wine tastings and games nights. “The ambience that the lighting has created down there has really helped make it feel very special after-hours,” says Allen. A DALI broadcast system, combined with Osram touch panels, makes it easy for staff to control the lights, to accommodate regularly changing displays and exhibitions.

The result is a stunningly refurbished showroom with a distinctive and characterful ambience, where each unique piece of furniture looks its very best. Lightworks director Jason Goldsmid said: “We’re incredibly proud to have been part of such a prestigious project. The team at Linley are extremely discerning. The quality of the lighting had to match the brand and the merchandise. It was a privilege to work so closely with the designers, Brinkworth, and with the client, to come up with a lighting design that’s really worthy of the setting.”