Shoe specialist Russell & Bromley has an illustrious history that goes back to 1873. Back then, the stores couldn’t be illuminated by incandescent lighting. It would take another couple of decades before the GLS lamp was invented, and another couple of decades after that before the technology was widely available and affordable.
But Russell & Bromley has been making up for it ever since. And nowhere more so than at its flagship store at the junction of Brook Street and New Bond Street in London’s uber-wealthy Mayfair district. The designers of the lighting at this outlet have embraced the incandescent lamp like no other.
The store’s perimeter and window area is spectacularly overlit with the Colonel Gaddafi of light sources: the double-ended tungsten halogen. This lamp is, essentially, a mini bar heater in a tube of glass. Oh, and it gives off some light.
The colour rendering is perfect of course: 100 Ra.You can’t get better, according to the official definition. But boy, is it inefficient. We reckon these babies are the 117mm 300W versions, meaning the window displays are consuming a bonkers 21kW.
The interior isn’t much better: 50W MR16s in clusters of three, not pointing anywhere in particular.
All in all, the electricity bill at this average-sized shoe shop must be knocking £50 a day. If all this power was making the merchandise irresistible you could forgive it. But it isn’t. It’s flat, uncontrolled downlighting, with no texture or contrast. The £300 pairs of shoes don’t look amazing – and they should.
With so much great technology and design experience available, it’s sad to see dinosaurs like this roaming the high street.
If Russell & Bromley wants to last another 130 years, it should try to keep up with trends a bit better.