Inspired By Design Creates Lighting Centrepiece for The Custom House

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    The challenge for Inspired By Design was to create a lighting centrepiece for the £3.5m refurbishment of an historic building in Northern Ireland.

    The Custom House was built in 1874 to collect tax from ships arriving at the port of Londonderry. It survived a number of bombings during the height of “The Troubles” in the 1970s and when refurbishments began in March 2010, it was little more than a shell. Plans had been drawn up for an elegant restaurant and wine bar, and it needed an imposing light feature that would dominate the entire height of the four-storey entrance hall.

    Interior designer Audrey Gaffney, from Be Design, turned to lighting specialists Inspired By Design because she needed a bespoke solution, she needed it quickly, and she needed it within budget. She approached them with outline plans for a pendant chandelier that would cascade down in four tiers, to match the balustrades of the imposing new staircase.

    That was in August 2010 and the restaurant was planning to open in time for Christmas, so there wasn’t much of a lead-in time. And because of the building’s history it had been “listed” to prevent developers altering its character.

    Inspired By Design, based in Manchester, England, represents lighting manufacturers worldwide and was able to quickly select and finalise the right design from its huge portfolio.

    The 7.5 metre high chandelier was made to their specifications in Italy, from tens of thousands of octagon-shaped glass crystals, hooked together by hand. The whole painstaking job took four weeks.

    The parts were then palletised and sent by road and ferry to Northern Ireland. Local workmen were contracted to strengthen the ceiling, so it would take the 150kg weight, and they pieced it together over three days.

    Inspired By Design also provided smaller custom-made pendants in a copper finish to hang in the bar and restaurant areas. The chandelier itself was illuminated by 30 colour-changing LEDs.

    “It was a complex job to fit, but we overcame the problems and the end result was breathtaking,” said Simon Shuck, managing director of Inspired By Design.

    “We were able to provide bespoke solution both in the design and manufacture, and ensure we met the budget. And we gave it the personal touch. We project-managed it personally from start to finish. That means making sure any problems are ironed out, at whatever stage in the process.

    Daniel Fountain / 15.03.2011

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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