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Case Study: United Colors of Benetton

Megaman’s LEDs were specified for global fashion brand Benetton’s new store in Northern Ireland’s town of Ballymena. The manufacturer of high-performance, low energy lighting provided a solution that was energy efficient, low maintenance, maximised the aesthetics of the store and provided a consistent, bright quality of light that enhanced the appearance of the merchandise.

Benetton is known for its vibrant, colourful clothes, so the owner of the store required a space that was bright and would entice the customer inside. A former post office in the large town of Ballymena in County Antrim, provided the necessary 3,000 square feet that could be transformed into retail space.

The 1950s two-storey building was stripped out and a large glazed panel employed on the front elevation to draw in daylight. The ground floor was refurbished to create a modern, light and airy space for the display of Benetton’s women’s and children’s clothes while the first floor was used as a store.

Creating a bright interior was key to the overall concept. It was considered that MEGAMAN’s ZEKI multi-head gimbal luminaires together with other specified products, would meet the challenge of creating an even and bright distribution of light.

Michael Williams, Director of Williams Creative Design Architects, designer of the Benetton store said: “Given that there are no windows in the shop apart from the glazed façade, we didn’t want customers to feel as if they were walking into a cavernous space. The ZEKI LEDs create a consistent quality of light with no changes in light levels, which is exactly what we wanted.”

Megaman’s ZEKI luminaire was also the first choice for the Benetton shop due to its modular frame and multi-directional tilting, which lends itself to easy adjustment. Fifty-six, one head frame 10.5W ZEKI luminaires were specified and installed in the suspended ceiling throughout the store.

Paul Howie, Director of T&E Howie Ltd, lighting designer and supplier said: “We recommended the ZEKI luminaires because the combination of its high lumen and tilted design meant that it was ideal for this project and gave the client lots of flexibility. If the client wants to move display stands around the retail space all he has to do is move the downlight and position it to illuminate the clothes. We’ve used Megaman products for many projects and we particularly like their robustness and high quality. Also, the technical backup that Megaman provides is really supportive.”

The ZEKI luminaire was also a popular choice due to its unobtrusive design.

Michael Williams: “I like the discreetness of the ZEKI lighting, which is very subtle. The spotlights have been twisted to focus on wall displays and draw attention to the merchandise. I didn’t want the lighting to take the customer’s eye away from the clothes. It has been a very successful project.” 

According to Paul Howie, the client had never used LEDs before, but was easily convinced due to the combination of minimal maintenance, low running costs, a five-year warranty and the environmental benefits of LED technology.  

Paul Howie: “It was a no brainer for the client to use the MEGAMAN ZEKI product. He has been so happy with the result that he plans to use the ZEKI luminaire for background lighting on two further Benetton stores in Northern Ireland that are currently at concept stage.”