The Undercroft Gift Shop, Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral’s retail space has been transformed by LED Light Sheet illuminated oak display cabinets and a sales desk designed by architectural practice Purcell.

10 years ago Mark Sutton Vane lit this space when it was the Durham Cathedral Treasury, now the Treasury is moving and this space has become the shop. Mark was delighted to design the lighting for the space a second time.

The brief was to create a practical, attractive and flexible shop which allows the wonderful medieval space to be seen. Durham Cathedral, one of the UK’s most important cathedrals has Grade 1 listed medieval architecture status, the shop is an important element to produce revenue to help maintain the Cathedral.

It was therefore important to create a hierarchy, this is a shop so the merchandise has to be the first thing that customers see, then the architecture, then the decorative lit glass panels.

To show off the columns and vaults, ideally there should be the minimum amount of lighting equipment on the ceiling. So Mark Sutton Vane worked with the architects to keep as much lighting off the ceiling as possible. No lighting was fixed to the columns. This was done by having internal lighting in the merchandising units so they glow with their own light. The large decorative panels were side lit so that their lighting equipment was as discrete as possible.

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