Lighting design in a league of its own
The new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been gaining plaudits from sports and architecture aficionados alike.
This article has been republished with permission from Arc Magazine. It first appeared in issue 110 from June/July 2019.
With lighting designed by Buro Happold, in collaboration with Populous, F3 Architects and Zumtobel Group, it is a shining beacon for other teams to aspire to.
Sports fans around the world will already be keenly aware of the newly opened Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as until its official opening this April, it was one of the most hotly anticipated new sporting venues in the world.
Located on the site of the London club’s former White Hart Lane ground, the 62,062-seater multi-purpose venue will not only be home to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, but will also host National Football League (NFL) games – it is the first purpose-built NFL stadium to be constructed outside of the United States – concerts, and other major events.
More than just a stadium, the new facility features a vast array of hospitality venues, from the Chairman’s Lounge and VIP Boxes to the Tunnel Club – an exclusive restaurant that looks out onto the tunnel as players enter and leave the pitch, the 65-metre-long Goal Line Bar – the longest continuous bar in Europe, and an in-house microbrewery for local craft brewery Beavertown.
The stadium – the second largest club stadium in the UK behind Manchester United’s Old Trafford – was developed by Populous and F3 Architects, who worked in collaboration with Buro Happold and lighting partners Zumtobel Group on the lighting design.
The lighting design was developed as part of a large, collaborative consultation process between Populous, F3 and Buro Happold. Both architecture firms had visual preferences, and the lighting designers would advise on lighting arrangements and specifications that could be incorporated in order to achieve their vision together, while Buro Happold also brought ideas and lighting concepts to the table, which assisted to provide a well co-ordinated and cohesive lighting scheme. This collaborative effort aimed to provide a comfortable and safe environment for players, employees and visitors alike, while providing perfect illumination for the many different requirements, from the fan experience, to the player’s facilities, media zones and behind-the-scenes areas.
With player wellbeing being of paramount importance, considerable attention was given to circadian rhythms in the changing rooms, physio and relaxation spaces, meaning that the lighting had to be catered for the different times of day when the players used the facilities. With this in mind, the design team used Zumtobel’s Panos Infinity, with a white-light range of 2700-6500K, which offers the user a range of options to adjust the colour temperature to the respective application.
We wanted to produce a building that, while upgrading the quality, didn’t lose the authenticity of what football stadiums are all about.
Chris Lee, Managing Director, Populous
The Austrian manufacturer’s Slotlight tunable White and RGBW LED tape has also been utilised in this area, while the players’ tunnel has been illuminated using Custom Active Light Wall – two huge stretch ceiling fittings that were personalised in Zumtobel’s Dornbirn factory. Complementing these approaches, JPR Lighting was commissioned by F3 Architects for the design, development, manufacture and full on-site installation of bespoke signature lighting for a number of specialist areas in the stadium. This included the Players Lounge – a space where players are given a psychological boost before each game. Subliminal hexagon design details throughout the lounge intend to help the players focus prior to the game.
Key to the success of the space, the design themes are echoed by the lighting. The hexagon ceiling system comprises acoustic sections and light boxes for a complete ceiling system. The light boxes include a track and sheet system with LED sources. For the hospitality areas, Buro Happold worked closely with Populous to develop concepts that would capture the various vibrant interior spaces. A key requirement for the stadium was to create internal spaces where visitors could spend time and indulge for longer periods than normally associated with football stadiums, prolonging the matchday experience and inviting fans to arrive early and leave late. “Tottenham has such a great and growing industry of local producers of food and drink, and we really wanted to showcase that. So we created this street food meets beer hall environment, and it’s a fantastic place to meet both before and after the game,” said Chris Lee, Managing Director of Populous. “We wanted to produce an environment where the spectators can choose where they want to go. Some of the stuff we loved about American sports and American stadiums is the idea that you came for the whole day, and you could choose to go to different bars or restaurants and have different experiences during the day or from trip to trip. ”To differentiate the plethora of different areas that fans can experience, each hospitality area has its own distinct individual character and identity, which is reflected in the lighting.
The whole lighting scheme has been designed to enhance the matchday experience for the supporters.
Elliot Evans, Lighting Designer, Zumtobel Group
Lighting was developed to ensure that there were distinct layers, creating depth and providing visual emphasis to areas of interest. For the most part, a system of lighting included for the general illumination of each space with horizontal lighting was provided by downlights, track spotlights or surface mounted canister downlights, such as acdc’s Novus and Novus Mini downlights. This was then complemented with emphasis on the illumination of vertical surfaces. To bring the whole scheme together, decorative lighting was added via suspended pendants and integrated lighting within the furniture and architectural structures. These three components of lighting assist to provide the layering required, while the use of dimming to reduce the background lighting provides further emphasis to the feature lighting, enhancing the character of each individual area or space.
Alongside the Players Lounge, JPR Lighting worked with F3 and Buro Happold on a range of specialist areas, including the Media Café, H-Club Members Suite, and the Sky Lounge Stratus East and West atriums, totalling more than 24,000sqm of floor area. The Media Café acts as a hub for the press on matchdays, with screens visible at all angles. The multi-functional space includes a café that is also open to the public outside of matchdays, with a back section closed off through a bi-folding wall. The lighting in this space was a real focus to enable a seamless fluidity throughout each of the spaces when open together. JPR’s design team developed a unique housing that was fabricated around the club’s vision. A series of continuous swirl lights around 28-metres in length were designed with one-piece diffusers for a seamless finish. Organically flowing through the Media Café, these solutions bring fluidity to the adjoining environments. Zumtobel’s Vivo spotlights, finished in a custom blue colour to match the team colours, complement JPR’s bespoke fixtures. The H-Club, a ‘discerning private members club thrust into the world of entertainment’, is steeped in the history of Tottenham Hostpurs’ founding years. JPR’s fully bespoke lighting solution featured around the circumference of the H-Club’s Luminaire Bar and lift lobby. The brass fronted step lantern echoes the luxurious details throughout the suite. Pre-fabricated into individual sections, the lighting installed onsite features more than 230-metres of diffused LED. The Stratus East and West atrium lounges are modern, contemporary spaces where fans can enjoy stunning panoramic views across London from the highest vantage point available in the stadium, and a birds-eye view of the pitch during game days. For this area, a triangular ceiling design was presented to the JPR team, which was developed into an array of bespoke lightbox and acoustic solutions. The ceiling layout comprises more than 500 bespoke triangle boxes throughout the East and West wings of the Sky Lounge.
In its role as Lighting Partner for the new stadium, Zumtobel Group was heavily involved in the lighting, right down to the design process, as Elliot Evans, lighting designer at Zumtobel Group, explained: “For Tottenham, partnership was key, so we worked closely with Buro Happold, Populous and F3 Architects, and translated the specifications and ideas of the architects and lighting designers into a tangible lighting scheme. As a company, we have designed lighting schemes for a wide range of projects, including commercial and retail space, urban landscapes and leisure facilities, and this project allowed us to work from this expertise.” Farhad Rahim, Associate Director of Buro Happold, added: “With the wide use of products from Zumtobel, acdc, Simes and Thorn, this gave a large palette of luminaires to address the lighting requirements without having to compromise. Zumtobel Group played a key part in assisting with the lighting designs, with advice on the choice of luminaires, technical details of the lighting, and assisting with mock-ups on site for client approval.”
More than 77,000 luminaires from Zumtobel Group and its various lighting brands have been installed throughout the stadium, and Evans revealed that Tottenham Hotspur’s hierarchy even played a role in which products were selected: “Each of our clients work in different ways, with some wanting to get more involved than others. However, working on such a high profile, high budget project, we would have expected the hierarchy, including Chairman Daniel Levy, to be involved, and we welcomed the input.” As the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the only venue in the English Premier League that is situated on a high street, with a direct presence in the local community – the stadium is actually part of a wider regeneration project for the area – it was vital that it have a striking visual presence. Lighting played a major factor in this, as from the outset of the project, designers hoped to use light to create an instantly recognisable stadium that would be seen by millions around the world while delivering the ultimate matchday and visitor experience. Key to this is its impressive ‘halo’ of light. Created using 380 pieces of acdc’s Blade RGB linear luminaires, the halo creates an iconic scene of light visible from a birds eye view, while enhancing the guest experience for those inside the stadium. With their beam angle control and minimalistic design, acdc’s Blade fixtures blend seamlessly into the architecture of the stadium.
Alongside the stadium-topping halo of light, the Blade fixtures are used across the facade of the building, setting the scene for approaching fans and guiding them towards the stadium. However, due to the built-up nature of the stadium’s surroundings, care and consideration had to be given to the local community, ensuring that the facade lighting didn’t spill out into the night. As such, acdc worked closely with the architects and consultants, creating several mock-ups and undergoing a number of intensive tests, before developing a custom louvre for the fixtures, ensuring the right level of glare control.
“We wanted a building that was transparent, that was welcoming, and the veil that wraps the building, with its blue lighting, was about responding to different conditions to create a dynamic building with dynamic architecture,” Lee added. Alongside the impressive facade lighting, on the ground, the external lighting scheme was orientated around the use of bespoke lighting columns incorporated with multiple spotlights that provide large areas of coverage from a single column, which together with the incorporation of other components – such as CCTV, WiFi and Audio – assists in reducing clutter and cutting down the number of columns for both lighting and other services in the external public areas. Mesh Lighting specified these columns, manufactured by Technilum, to ringfence the whole of the outside of the stadium, as well as the approach. Ranging in height from four to 20 metres, the poles were specified from the Structure K range, and are paired with projectors courtesy of Simes and acdc.
One of the main challenges that comes when creating a new sporting venue, particularly one with a ‘bowl’ structure such as this, is that, in doing so, it loses some of the charm and character of the team’s former home, instead becoming just another ‘identikit’ stadium. “This is something that Tottenham was aware of and focused on from the beginning,” said Evans. “In fact, everywhere you look in the new stadium there is a nod to the history of the club. “White Hart Lane was always known for its fantastic atmosphere and Tottenham has worked tirelessly to find ways to recreate this feeling in the new scheme. “The whole lighting scheme has been designed to enhance the matchday experience for the supporters, for example, over 360 RGB floodlights have been used to light the underside of the roof, alongside the more than 600 linear RGB luminaires that create the instantly recognisable facade and halo effect, creating the new face of White Hart Lane. ”Indeed the new venue features a number of nods to Spurs’ former home, with some of the original brickwork and flooring taken from the old White Hart Lane and installed in the new stadium.
The concourses are also filled with links to the club’s heritage, giving the ground its own sense of character. “I think one of the important things from an architectural perspective was that we wanted to produce a building that, while upgrading the quality, didn’t lose the authenticity of what football stadiums are all about,” Lee said. “It’s easy when you upgrade quality to make it too posh or too slick, so we wanted to produce an environment and use materials that were real and genuine, that would wear and that would look better in ten years time. “As a sports architect, the challenge to design an amazing soccer stadium that’s genuine and authentic, that has a seating bowl that’s incredibly atmospheric, this is what it’s all about.
We wanted to create a seating bowl that had identity that had character, that wasn’t a symmetrical, ubiquitous stadium where you didn’t know where you were. ”Since the stadium’s official opening – a 2-0 victory for Tottenham Hotspur over Crystal Palace – it has gained plaudits from sports fans and architecture aficionados the world over. And for Evans, himself a Spurs fan, it was a special moment to see it finally open. “It was an honour to be involved in the stadium, as it’s such an iconic project and it has a real history with a community feel – they have built something that people can be proud of for decades. “The whole team is proud of the collaboration and what we have achieved, and on a personal level, as a long-time Tottenham fan, this has been a dream for me, and I have enjoyed seeing the project develop and the stadium finally open. “It’s a fantastic scheme that uses the very latest lighting technology, is sustainable and future-proofed for any changes – it brings the club into a different league.”
This article has been republished with permission from Arc Magazine. It first appeared in issue 110 from June/July 2019. https://www.arc-magazine.com/