Luminaires from Thorn Lighting have played an important role in the refurbishment of one of Newcastle’s best loved historic buildings, The Old Post Office in Newcastle. The project involves upgrading the 3,350mheadquarters for NBS which spearheaded the multimillion-pound refurbishment and regeneration of the Grade II-listed building and has been housed there for a number of years. NBS are the leading provider of construction information and knowledge management services in the UK; providing technical information, specification and BIM tools to construction industry professionals including architects, engineers and surveyors as well as services for building product manufacturers.

Thorns Planor Suspended, Planor Wall, Glacier LED and Chalice LED luminaires have been used throughout the project to provide a well-connected home for the modern, discerning occupier that values sustainability, good design and the wellbeing of its workforce.

The Old Post Office which dates back to the 1870s and was at the heart of the 19th century development of the city, has undergone a £5.8m refurbishment and redevelopment by the owner NBS, who employs 180 people in the city of Newcastle. The architects for the redevelopment project were JDDK Architects with the lighting design created by Armstrong Rhead Limited in conjunction with Ward Robinson the interior designers.  The redevelopment has created a state of the art building with transformed office space and meeting rooms and extensive facilities for staff, including a gym within the building. In addition to this NBS are keen to involve the community in the building, including the general public, and the business and academic community. In order to achieve this there will be gallery and exhibition space which will be open to the public, a lecture theatre and events spaces.

Thorn’s Planor Suspended Edgelit LEDs were selected as there was very limited ceiling void in the reception area which made it impossible for recessed lighting to be installed.  These fittings replaced a combination of metal halide high bay luminaires and Cat 3 louvred modular luminaires, all with conventional inefficient control gear that were neither energy efficient or cost effective, providing poor light quality. Planor Suspended Edgelit LED has a slim and elegant design, with a stunning transparent direct/indirect optic. The side-lit transparent light guide optic with no visible light source has been designed to subtly integrate into minimalist office designs, and suited the interior design of The Old Post Office perfectly. These pendants provide a 60/40 balance of down/up light, creating an uplifting environment with effective illumination of both surfaces and people. Planor Wall has also been integrated into the lighting design to provide LED accent lighting with a co-ordinated aesthetic. Its side reflectors and downlight window give asymmetric forward pointing uplight.

Thorn’s Glacier LEDs were used in open office areas due to the large ceiling height and a large amount of natural light. Thorn’s Chalice LED, a high performance LED downlight that offers exceptional efficiency with a class-leading efficacy of up to 110 Llm/W, was chosen for circulation spaces and seminar rooms. The high performance optic and light mixing chamber provide a uniform appearance which, combined with a unified glare ratio <19, CRI 80 and CRI 90, makes Chalice perfect for high quality lighting applications. A lifetime of up to 50,000 hours (@L70, Ta 25 degrees C) significantly reduces maintenance demands and costs.

Thorn’s Voyager series emergency exit signs were also installed to provide discreet, high performance, LED emergency lighting. Voyager’s efficient, high power LED technology provides excellent performance and spacing, low parasitic power consumption and a long, low maintenance life.

NBS Chief Executive Richard Waterhouse said “We are passionate about the transformation of the Old Post Office  – it is a beautiful and iconic building which many people in the City recognise and remember as a working Post Office. We are committed to creating a working environment that will inspire and motivate both our staff and visitors and we hope will involve people across the region”.

Following its makeover, The Old Post Office is officially one of the region’s coolest offices, where the building triumphed as winner of the Best Refurbished and Recycled Workplace at The Northern Awards Dinner of the BCO awards, which recognise the highest quality developments and sets the standard for excellence in the regional and national office sector. BCO Judges were highly impressed by the refurbishment of The Old Post Office, stating that the iconic listed building is now an environment which inspires and excites people, with a mix of agile work settings that promote a feeling of wellbeing for staff whilst maximising opportunities for collaboration.