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The challenge

 Since opening in the 1960s, the Civic Centre had become increasingly expensive to operate and maintain and it was in urgent need of modernisation.

When Southend Council leaders decided that it was no longer fit for purpose, they were faced with deciding whether to refurbish the iconic building or relocate to new purpose built facilities.

 They found that the most cost effective solution was to undertake a total refurbishment of the Civic Centre, whilst staff continued to work in the building. 

 Another key consideration in the refurbishment was improving the energy efficiency of the building. This is something which was carefully planned in to all elements of the work including lighting.

 It was important to Council leaders that some of the building's original features were maintained during the refurbishment, including the staircase balustrade.

The solution

Chantelle Lighting's team of designers were tasked with creating a feature chandelier which would create a focal point for everyone coming into and working in the building but would also be energy efficient and have low maintenance costs.

"We were not only faced with a creative challenge with this bespoke fitting, we had to ensure it would be cost effective for the buildings owners to maintain" said Anthony Holly, Chantelle Lighting managing director. "It needed to be timeless light fitting which would be in keeping with the original features which were being retained in the building, such as balustrades  from the 1960s, but also needed to work well with the modern elements of the refurbishment."

 Chantelle's designers proposed a nine ring aluminium chandelier which would look impressive to everyone climbing and descending the stairs; a circular shaped fitting was designed to complement the oval descent of the stairs.

 Anthony added, "With such a large fitting, covering all of the floors in the building, it was important that we created a structure which would not be too heavy. Aluminium was the perfect material for this and the interconnecting rings allowed weight to be distributed evenly meaning it was not too heavy at the top or bottom.

"We used an innovative range of LED tape on this fitting to make it really simple for the chandelier to be maintained once it was in position. LED tape is very flexible, has low running cots and a long life span so it was ideal for meeting the cost efficiency brief. The individual rings in the chandelier are seamlessly connected and at the touch of a button the separate rings can be accessed for maintenance."

The result 

The project was complex because of the scale of the bespoke fitting and the welding required to form the aluminium hoops. The hard work and passion of the team at Chantelle Lighting has been rewarded with a truly impressive end result.

"There were a number of elements to the brief from the designers and architects, producing a bespoke focal point which would be energy efficient and easy to maintain," said Anthony. "Using our design expertise as well as our understanding of the latest LED technologies, we were able to surpass the expectations of the design team.

"The fitting is simple in nature but has totally transformed the building, making it come alive to staff who work there every day and one-off visitors. It was a pleasure working with a team of designers and architects who had a genuine interest in maintaining many of the original features of the building whilst bringing it into the 21st Century.


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