JULY 20, 2020

Abbey Wharf, Reading.

Project Summary:

Location: Reading
Sector: Office
Client: M&G Real Estate
Architect: Spratley and Partners
Consultant: Hollis
Fit Out: Artemis Interiors 
Electrical Contractor: ARM Solutions
Value: £48K
Duration:  13 months
Size: 23,000 sq. ft
Photography: Dave Parker

The recent CAT A refurbishment of Abbey Wharf offers approximately 23,000 sq ft of reinvigorated commercial office space with a large personality. Uniquely positioned on the waterfront in Reading town centre within a short walking distance of historic Abbey Ruins, this well connected creative hub offers impressive views over the river Kennet and relaxed club style atmosphere. The contemporary scheme designed by Spratley & Partners celebrates the connection of the building with the riverside and redefining Abbey Wharf as a new destination workplace in Reading. 


Built in the 1980’s for office use, 57-75 Kings Road formerly known as Abbey Gate is a 4 storey steel frame building with a lower ground floor. The extensive refurbishment started in 2008. Externally, the tired looking building was transformed with the enlarged entrance canopy, a new pitched roof and contemporary facade improvements, hugely improving the street presence of the building.

Internally, the vacant first and ground floor were completed to CAT A standard featuring new communal area refurbishment, main staircase and full reception expansion to accommodate the new breakout. The new transformed space is further enhanced with exposed soffits and hybrid raft suspended ceilings. The contemporary material finishes and colour palette alongside the new branding elevate Abbey Gate to a desirable place to work.


Approached by Spratley & Partners in November 2018 with their design vision for the project featuring the visuals of our fluorescent tube style LED luminaire Nile, our team became an integral part of the project. Working closely with Spratley & Partners on the design side and Hollis Global on the performance side of the scheme, 299 put their mark on the project.


Our team designed the full interior CAT A office lighting and exterior lighting including emergency lighting, ready for tender.  We produced full lighting design and calculations making sure the correct lighting products including emergency lighting have been selected across the whole scheme for all areas. 30 hours of lighting design in total were used to support the project.

The client’s ambitious aspiration was to re-imagine the space and create a forward thinking destination workplace with a certain type of client in mind. Sustainability was a key priority in producing this contemporary scheme with a club atmosphere.



The design brief was fuelled by embracing the riverside settings and the architectural feature lighting used in the scheme references to rippled water in a river. The bold contemporary finishes and colour scheme combined with the exposed soffits of the extension. The scheme is using the tubular omnidirectional lighting across the interior and exterior space as the main design thread to tie the whole scheme together.

The Exterior

The linear lighting used in the new exterior canopy is the IP65 rated version of the Rio Surface mounted. The die-cast aluminium housing was pre-treated before powder coating to ensure corrosion resistance and the linear profile was specified with frosted toughened glass. 

The exterior version of the fluorescent tube style LED luminaire Nile surface mounted was used in several exterior locations, adding a contemporary industrial style to the facade and the cycle storage in the basement area. The luminaire was used in 4 different sizes to match each specific area. The luminaire installation of the Nile surface mounted in the cycle storage reference to rippled water in a river. The design is using lighting as part of the branding and guiding visitors through the space. The exterior Nile fittings are IP67 rated.


The Interior.

In the reception area and breakout, the Nile suspended was specified and used for main illumination of the space. The smooth finish of the tubular Nile and soft lighting emitted from the luminaries creates comfortable lighting and good contrast with the concrete ceilings. Nile surface mounted was used in the breakout space. Installed in a symmetrical pattern, the tubular luminaries are enhancing the contemporary design of the space.

In the circulation areas around the staircase, the Nile suspended was installed behind metal mesh ceiling tiles in a playful diagonal pattern. 


Nile Surface mounted and suspended were used to illuminate the new shower block. The lighting enhances the contemporary look of the facilities.  

In the main open plan office area, the Nile Suspended was used behind the metal mesh tiles as part of the hybrid ceiling to create a playful visual feature. 

In the main staircase area, the Rio wall with direct/indirect distribution was used to provide the general lighting for the space. The performance driven linear profile Rio has a clean cut design and the matte black finish boosts the visual appearance of the space. A true wow factor has been achieved in the stairwell by the vertically suspended Nile suspended. The omnidirectional tubular luminaire with 360 degree illumination were suspended at different lengths to create this eye-catching architectural feature pendant.


The result is a very distinctive contemporary CAT A workplace where the architectural lighting truly sets the workplace apart and allows the actual building to become a centre stage. It’s a welcoming space with the architectural lighting attractive to future tenants and visitors.

Project in figures:

30 Design hours

30 design hours were allocated to the interior and exterior lighting design for this project

14 Rio Exteriors

14 Rio Exterior Wall mounted luminaries with IP65 rating were installed in the exterior area

3 Distributions

3 different distributions of Nile Suspended and Surface Mounted were used on this project

Looking to update your office scheme with architectural lighting design?

Contact our project team to find out more!

Looking to update your office scheme with architectural lighting design?

Contact our project team to find out more!