Illum : Denmark

Illum Store

Unifying illumination

Since first opening their doors in 1891 Illum has evolved from solely a place of commerce into a cultural icon of Copenhagen’s city center. The essence of a department store is to bring various brands together within a single entity. As part of the latest renovation project, lighting designer Jesper Kongshaug vision was an extension of this concept, using architecture and light to not only attract and entice but to unite three different facades with a common visual expression and identity.


Historically, the external lighting of the Illum store was generated via the shop windows at ground level with the upper facades being in partial darkness lit only by light spill from the suspended street luminaires and reflected light from the street level. In addition to making the building appear two-dimensional, the shared history and ownership of building was hidden to the passer by.

The primary concept of the design focused on the nuance of the texture and vertical lines of the building, in combination with the framing of the window sections, the lighting was to draw focus and attention toward what is going on inside the store without causing a blinding light for passers by. This approach was coordinated with the Municipality of Copenhagen’s lighting strategy which prefers transparency in the facade and dynamics in the urban landscape.


To realise the lighting designer Jesper Kongshaug concept efficiency, colour rendering and visual comfort all had to work in unison. Microfocus, from Simes, provided the exact light quality the installation demanded with a CRI 90 and 3 SDCM values. The Red Dot Design Award winning Shape, provides a uniformed and high efficient surface mounted accent light alongside the window frames.

Further enhancing both the efficiency and visual comfort the installation was optimised with DALI lighting controls. The carefully defined light levels are triggered by daylight sensors reflective of both the time of the year and opening hours, automatically dimming down to 80% at midnight. By adopting this approach Illum had a solution which was not only energy cost conscious but also communicated their sustainable credentials to the environmentally aware Copenhagen citizens and tourists.

The installation was one of the nominated projects for the 2016 Danish Lighting Awards.

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