White Cube

White Cube.

White Cube.

The lighting creates a warm, inviting, and luxurious environment.

The White Cube is a bespoke statement building in Vaduz, capital of Lichtenstein and is a joint project to create a first-class art gallery for the Hilti foundation and a flagship watch store.

Client : Huber Schmuck & Uhren

Interior Architect : MHZ

Joinery manufacturer : Armellini

Photographer : Mattieu Salvaing

Completion year : 2015

The luxury Swiss watch market is built on a foundation of precious materials and extraordinary craftsmanship, so a flagship location designed specifically for lovers of fine watches must embody these principles. The lighting concept focused on premium materials including exotic woods, leather and bronze to create a warm, inviting, and luxurious environment. All aspects of the interior are bespoke, like the building itself and so integration and detail were vital to the success of the whole project.

The luminaires have an innovative two-step control system. The inner cylinder is illuminated by an uplight module with a warm light source.

The outer cylinder is switched on during the long twilight of the Nordic countries, giving the lanterns a warm visual presence during the last moments of daylight.

Architectural details such as coves and back-lit glass walls help to create a more restrained and opulent atmosphere to specialist sales areas, distinguishing these salons form the rest of the store. The helical stair is a more unique experience with lighting incorporated into the stair treads.

Naturally, the lighting has to illuminate the merchandise as brilliantly as possible. All of the display vitrines were custom designed from scratch and each was challenging in its own way. We worked closely with XAL the develop custom versions of their products and custom joinery specialist Armellini to ensure that the lighting was exacting, just like a Swiss watch. We chose to use high CRI 3000K LED arrays which gave sparkle and lustre to the watches.

It’s tricky to balance the general light in store with the vitrines; the latter is meant to stand out and draw customers and showcase the merchandise but when a watch is removed from a vitrine and viewed under store lighting conditions, the timepiece must still sparkle and gleam. We generally managed to avoid filling the ceilings with downlights and concentrated high-level accents around vitrines, avoiding light where it wasn’t needed. For downlights, we chose the Xicato Vibrancy Artist 3000K engine as it gives a fresh, active feel whilst enhancing the look of gold and warm materials, without sacrificing colour clarity on silvery and white tones. We were able to achieve punch with warmth.

This was a flagship boutique made for watch lovers, by a watch lover with the precision and craft that would be the equal of any of the luxury watches that it sells.


Arve Olsen

Design Director, UK

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