Quod Brasserie forms the hub of Oxford’s Old Bank Hotel, which is surrounded by the famous colleges of Merton, All Souls, Christ Church and University.

The building was a former banking hall before it was transformed by owner Jeremy Mogford into a stylish and contemporary space which currently houses an impressive collection of British art.

Known to be a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike, the owner was keen to update the dining venue with a new lighting control system that would allow staff to create a number of lighting scenes that could be easily changed throughout the day.

“Lighting is at the top of the list of our design priorities because it creates the mood and defines the type of restaurant that we are,” explains Ben Truesdale, general manager of The Old Bank Hotel and Quod Brasserie.

“We want our customers to go away thinking about the food which they have eaten and we want our team to concentrate on providing the best level of service to our customers. Simplicity was therefore essential with our new system but energy efficiency was also a key concern and it was important to us that the two worked in parallel.”

Chosen to fit the bill was a new lighting control system from Carlo Gavazzi.

Lighting is at the top of the list of our design priorities because it creates the mood and defines the type of restaurant that we are” – Ben Truesdal

The smart building system not only provides the brasserie with the ability to pre-define set scenes which can be changed throughout the day, but it does so in an energy efficient manner through the integration of lux sensors and dimmers.

Installed by Simply Advanced Ltd, a smart building controller forms the central hub of the new system.

Specially designed for building automation applications, it is based on a Linux platform and contains the core programme to provide the necessary control of the lighting throughout the brasserie.

Programming is achieved using the pre-defined functions contained within the configurator software and due to the two-wire bus concept there is always the potential to expand the system in the future by adding further components to the existing bus cable.

Commenting about any particular challenges faced during the project, installer Nathan Bayliss of Simply Advanced says: “We had to re-use the old leax enclosures and existing cabling as they housed the circuit breakers.

However the system we selected was perfect for the enclosure!

“We also had to make sure that the restaurant was kept spotless whilst working through the night given that we had to recut holes for the new lights in the plasterboard ceiling,” he adds.

“The smart building controller is an extremely robust and versatile solution which is perfect for this type of application. For example, it allows the setting of pre-defined functions, which in this case is different lighting scenes that can be used at different times of the day to create the right ambience within the dining area. Once these are created within the central controller, the scenes can be changed by staff at the touch of a button using one of the seven Aurora light switches which have been installed throughout the brasserie.”

Creating the right ambience was a major concern that was addressed through the installation of the smart building system, however the benefits do not purely lie in aesthetics, with energy efficiency playing a key role.

“The ability of a lighting control system to eliminate the unnecessary use of lighting is well documented but it can be quite difficult to get it absolutely right in a restaurant which needs to cater for the needs of a wide range of customers at all different times of day,” Nathan explains.

The use of LED lighting can often prove to be problematic because although LEDs are more efficient to run there can often be compatibility issues, leading to flickering and poor dimming performance.

“In order to meet the requirement for energy efficiency we therefore installed a lux sensor which controls the interior lighting in relation to daylight levels and ensures that lighting is only switched on when it is required,” Nathan explains.

“We also installed 15 SH2 500W dimmer modules that have been specifically designed to function with LED lamps. The additional benefit of these modules is that they were small enough to allow the existing control panel to be re-used which saved on the cost of building a new one.”

One of the key elements throughout this installation was creating the right ambience for Quod Brasserie, but it was also imperative that this wasn’t created at the expense of energy efficiency.

However this key criteria was achieved; so impressed was the client that this particular smart building system is now being rolled out across the hotel to provide lighting control in all of the bedrooms.

“It’s great to have been part of a project that introduces current technology into an old building,” Nathan concludes.

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