Changing rooms with scene selection were once the preserve of the personal-shopping departments of flagship stores – but now Theo Paphites is taking it to the high street at his lingerie venture, Boux Avenue. Jill Entwistle reports

‘Such genius lighting in the changing rooms’, tweeted one smitten customer.

Not an observation you’re likely to hear often when it comes to high street fashion fitting rooms. But let’s face it, if you’re buying knickers you need to know what you look like in them at any time.

That is why at Boux Avenue, Theo Paphitis’ foray into women’s lingerie, the fitting rooms feature a simple button-operated system for changing the lighting settings.

Choose your scheme

The installation uses primarily Fagerhult products. There are T5 Thinlite Seamless fittings behind the mirror creating a halo effect, the only illumination that is on permanently and the sole lighting when the customer enters the changing room. There are three wall buttons, labelled ‘Day’, ‘Dusk’ and ‘Night’. Press the Day setting and the compact fluorescent Pleiad SLD downlight (2 x 14W) in the centre of the ceiling is switched on, as are the two Easy 50W LV halogen recessed spots on either side of it (retrofit LED sources are used at the Bluewater outlet).

When the Dusk setting is chosen, the halogen downlight closest to the mirror goes off and two decorative incandescent sconce lights (by Verpan) come on. The Night setting switches off all the overhead lights, leaving just the sconce and halo light.

Straightforward switching

Interior designer Ink Associates wanted straightforward switching rather than controls for simpler operation and because the ornate buttons suited the interior aesthetic better than an electronic control panel.

Elaborate controls were eschewed in favour of simple switches

Elaborate controls were eschewed in favour of simple switches

In the main part of the shop the purposely understated, low-energy lighting scheme is based on Fagerhult’s Pleiad Power Flex adjustable spots at lower wattages than usual – 20 and 35W CDM-T – to create a more moody ambience in the glossy white and black interior. ‘They were looking for a burlesque-type feel to the store,’ says Fagerhult’s retail director Mark Shortland. ‘The lighting had to be subtle and create quite an intimate feel.’

Perimeter lighting comes from T5 Thinlite Seamless fittings (replaced with RGB LED colour-changing in a couple of stores), with accenting to the wall displays from 20W Pleiad Power Flex G2 fittings with 37- degree beams. The same fitting with a different reflector and lamp (22-degree beam, 35W) is used in the central areas. The Easy spot also accents small wall-mounted glass displays. Feature chandeliers are again by Verpan. Colour temperature is 3000K throughout, to warm up the white interior and avoid a clinical look.

So far six stores have opened – at Bluewater, Lakeside, Trafford Centre, Glasgow, Cardiff and Sheffield Meadowhall – with 30 outlets planned over the next 12-18 months.

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