Award winning Australian lighting design consultancy Point Of View was commissioned to redesign the lighting in the lobby and satellite lobbies of the iconic Sydney landmark Chifley Tower. The challenge for the lighting design company was to give the building a complete makeover by only changing the lobby lighting.

Located on one of Sydney's most expensive sites, Chifley Tower was designed by renowned New York architects Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF). Luxurious and opulent, the building drew comparison with some of the greatest buildings in the world. However, the fabulous building had also starting showing its age.

Point Of View was engaged by current owners GIC Private Limited, with whom they had recently worked successfully on lighting the exterior of No 1 Martin Place.

According to Point Of View Principal Mark Elliott, the strong aesthetic of Chifley Tower required not only sensational lighting to rejuvenate it, but also specially designed light fittings as a totally bespoke solution.

The palette of materials used in the foyer in the original KPF design included a collage of exquisite stones, marbles and granites with stainless steel detailing. Point Of View’s challenge was to enhance daylight ingress, while creating a much more dramatic, after dark appearance; it was important that the design matched the existing architecture.

Amara Clarke, Senior Designer at Point Of View explained that understanding the scale, proportion and detailing of the building was fundamental to the design of their bespoke lighting solution.

The idea was to wash the foyer's rear wall to draw the eye through the full height of the glazing and into the interior. By bouncing light off the walls, the designers were able to dramatically light up the space and create a sense of volume with uplighting to the ceiling.

The existing, suspended square light fixtures in the wing shaped lobby were perceived to be under-scaled. Point Of View custom designed a series of stainless steel rings to provide up light to the ceiling during the day and focused downlight at night. Since it was important to match the materiality of the custom steel fittings to the existing stainless steel detail, they tested the grade of the steel and the weight and direction of the brushing until a perfect match was found. A custom cluster of pendants was designed and suspended over the reception desk to anchor it and give visitors a point of destination.

To remove the cave effect in the lift lobbies caused by previous wall light and downlight combinations, a new, architecturally integrated stainless steel beam was strapped through the lift lobbies to connect existing lateral beams. The new beam housed uplighting to lift the ceiling and wash light across the stone wall cladding while downlighting enhanced the diamond pattern on the stone floors.

Since the upgrade of Chifley Tower relied entirely on lighting, Elliott said the right outcomes could only be achieved through custom designed solutions. According to Elliott, the project demonstrates the effect a lighting designer alone can have on dramatically changing a space.

Point Of View was able to achieve the aesthetics at Chifley Tower without compromising on sustainable design technologies. LED and lighting control systems harvest daylight and ensure the transition from day to night mode is energy efficient. Following the relighting project, the building has been able to achieve energy savings of up to 382%.

Point Of View has offices in Sydney and Melbourne and is currently working with KPF, the original architects of Chifley Tower, on two projects in India.