ISPT engaged Haron Robson to conduct research and analysis of the foyer lighting at Central Plaza in Brisbane, Australia. The brief required a cost-effective solution with very low maintenance, high energy efficiencies & create a unique environment that would change the perception of the building asset and reflected the original design inspired by ancient Japanese lanterns.

The project was challenged by the height of the ceiling (18 metres/5 levels high) which made them difficult & expensive to access for cleaning & maintenance. Previous owners had resorted to turning the lights off altogether to meet NABER’s rating targets.

The issue was not the quantity of light but enough to make the surfaces appear bright. Our solution consisted of a custom made addressable LED edge lit panel lighting system providing static, adaptable and dynamic lighting effects (over 2000 settings) that respond to daylight conditions and reduce energy consumption.

Building History

Central Plaza One is an office building in the city of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kurokawa Kisho. Consisting of 44 floors, the tower is 174m (571 ft) completed in 1988 and being synonymous with Australian Bicentenary and World Expo ’88 Brisbane. It is located at 345 Queen Street, in the Brisbane central business district. The building is owned by Industry Superannuation Property Trust (ISPT), who purchased the building for $385Million. At the time of its completion it was the tallest building in Brisbane, located next to Central Plaza One is a smaller version of the tower with a similar design, Central Plaza Two, which has a height of 110 m. In 2008, Central Plaza Three was built to 57 metres, completing the Central Plaza Complex.

Our Story

After ISPT purchased the building they set about improving its appearance and functionality. They engaged various consultants to review the fabric of the building and its integrated lighting systems with the aim of commencing a restoration of the main ground floor lobby with hopes of changing the publics’ perception of the building. Two years and a few consultants later Haron Robson’s lighting design team were engaged to review what had been done to date and develop an approach to relighting the foyer using “fresh eyes”.

The brief to Haron Robson included:

  • Consistent colour & even diffusion of rear illumination
  • Light emitted into the space & energy consumption had to be minimised
  • NABERS 4.5 Star rating of the building could not be compromised
  • There were significant budget and operating cost considerations
  • The upgrade had to be done with minimal disruption to sitting tenants
  • The overall environment needed to present a “wow” factor.

We analysed the space, the problems that had been experienced with maintenance, the energy targets, as well as the overwhelming effect that the 120 ceiling lanterns (with 30mm thick white diffusers hiding over 3000 five foot fluorescent tubes) had on those entering the foyer, during the day & at night. Simply replacing the tubes with new would not achieve the required criteria nor achieve the desired environment and “wow” factor.

So whilst the projects initial aim was to replace the old faulty flickering fluorescent lighting, retaining the backlit panels and to save some energy, as lighting designers we believed the space deserved so much more.

Challenges like not interrupting the operation of the 800sqm lobby whilst upgrading the lighting 16metres above the floor were minor until we could develop a lighting solution that energised the space.

Technology is the Answer

Implemented the lighting upgrade to restore 1305 lanterns in a five storey high 800 sqm lobby situated at the base of a 44 storey 50,000 sqm office building. It was carried out over six months in an occupied and operating office tower in Brisbane’s CBD. Replacing old backlit panels and their faulty flickering Fluorescent lights not only saved some energy. The implemented solution also provides the following additional features:

  • Using a custom made addressable LED panel lighting system we can provide static, adaptable and dynamic lighting effects that respond to daylight conditions and reduce energy consumption.... Or we can set it so it can disco with the best of them
  • Whilst we only finished the install last week, we are now setting a number of transitions and settings (over 2000) that ensure the space rarely looks the same.

The lighting seems to make visitor’s smile, stop and gaze or be thrilled by the movement and energy that it transmits. Who’d have thought this would happen in sleepy Brisbane... sometimes referred as “Brisvegas”.


The original drivers for this restoration were maintenance and energy. The restoration project aimed to replace a system which consumed nearly 628MWhrs pa when fully operational with a system that should consume just 70MWhrs.

The installation should last in excess of 10 years with little maintenance and up to 20 years versus the old fluorescent installation requiring complete re-lamping every second year. This LED solution reduced waste and toxins generated by the re-lamping process.

The energy savings are enormous and great savings should be able to be achieved with imaginative programming of the control system, this programming can also be used to share the run time across the entire installation and prolong the period between LED replacements…this is a work in progress.

Next step in this project is a Solar PV / battery system to power all feature lighting in the lobby and new exterior lighting planned for implementation late this year.

To see the installation in operation, please view the following video: http://central-plaza.com/let-there-be-light/

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