The 5-star Cordis Hotel in Auckland has recently undergone an expansion, with the addition of 244 new rooms and an extension to its popular restaurant, Eight. With daylight unavailable in the extension to their existing restaurant, designers Space Studio turned to Stretchmaster Ceilings for a backlit Barrisol wall installation that could replicate the effect of natural light.
“The clients needed to extend into a part of the building where we couldn’t achieve natural light due to structural challenges,” explains David Sweatman, Associate Designer, Space Studio. “That’s where the Barrisol system came in. With Barrisol, you can illuminate large areas seamlessly. It also has an acoustic benefit, it is easy to clean and it met all the fire ratings required. It ticked a lot of boxes.”
Offering bespoke design possibilities, the Barrisol range of lightweight wall and ceiling panels is available in a near-unlimited variety of colours, finishes and shapes, and importantly, can be backlit to provide both practical and feature lighting. Space Studio specified panels from the Barrisol Lumiere range to illuminate the upper walls of the new dining space.
The design team worked closely with Stretchmaster Ceilings, the exclusive suppliers and installers of Barrisol panels in New Zealand, to achieve the lighting effect they wanted. “We wanted to create a shadow pattern behind the Barrisol to mirror screens that feature throughout the restaurant, tying it all together,” says David. “We had to be careful that it was casting the right kind of shadow. Stretchmaster were really good to work with and helped us make sure it was built in the right way.”
The Stretchmaster team produced prototypes to test the design ahead of the installation. The final installation features three seamless Barrisol Lumiere panels with custom-built framing which when backlit creates a soft shadow effect that mirrors the geometric pattern of the restaurant screens.
The quality of light provided by the Barrisol installation was critical, and so the lighting was designed with circadian rhythms in mind. “With no natural light in that space, we thought it was important that it wasn’t too dim in the morning,” explains David. “So in the mornings the light is a daylight colour, so the space is refreshing and light-filled, and then in evenings you can dim it right down to be a soft warm candlelight.” In addition to setting the tone of the restaurant, this human-centric lighting approach has a positive effect on health by ensuring the internal body clock is in sync with the day/night cycle even without natural light.
Ultimately, the use of the backlit Barrisol has resolved the space’s lighting issues and added to the restaurant’s sleek aesthetic — all while ensuring a seamless transition from breakfast to lunch to dinner. “The Barrisol is great, it’s performing exactly as we needed it to,” says David.