It isn’t as if David Jones Ltd. is the impatient new kid on the block, but the venerable 162-year-old Australian retailer thought it was high time to take things into its own hands and get downtown Adelaide moving again. It succeeded in not only spearheading the construction of the new Adelaide Central Plaza, but its own handsome, open 280,000-sq.-ft. (25,200 sq. m) department store establishes a new standard for international large-scale retail store design.

Each of David Jones’ five levels gives customers the feeling that they are moving through a series of delightful specialty boutiques. RYA (Robert Young Associates), Dallas, TX, store planning and design specialists, were responsible for the interior layout, created with the store’s in-house facilities and construction personnel. The lighting program was created by Bernard V. Bauer, LC, IES, of Integrated Lighting Concepts, Westlake Village, CA. Bauer collaborated with Total Electrical Connection, headed by Wayne Wa, of Milperra, NSW, Australia, from the specifications phase through installation.

David Jones’ Adelaide flagship captured the top "Store of the Year" award in the competition sponsored by the Institute of Store Planners and the trade magazine VM+SD (Visual Merchandising + Store Design). It was also cited for its merchandise display and fixturing program by the National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers (NASFM). RYA and Integrated Lighting Concepts have been joint recipients of awards for such high-profile retail clients as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s.

David Jones is one of the world’s oldest department stores still trading under its own name—it predates such retail institutions as Bon Marché and Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Harrods in London, and Marshall Fields—and operates in Australia’s major markets. Adelaide’s urban renaissance was initiated by David Jones management to project a fresh and lively new image and grow market share in the city of approximately one million people. Adelaide, situated in the state of South Australia, is the country’s fifth largest capital city after Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane.

By leveling a former competitor’s store, David Jones was able to use the footprint for Rundle Mall, an open-air center with the new prototype David Jones at its core, surrounded by three levels of specialty stores and a food court with cafés and restaurants. Peter Wilkinson, the firm’s CEO, led a team comprised of Stephen Goddard and Deiter Poisel from David Jones, and from RYA, Tom Herndon, CEO and principal-in-charge, and Mike Wilkins, creative director, on a globe-spanning tour to observe first-hand the store and retail lighting design trends that they would translate for the Australian market. "This first-hand market research was invaluable to crystallize the concept and move smoothly through the subsequent design development stages," says Herndon.

Choosing the Fixtures

Once the final drawings were approved, the eight-month fast-track construction schedule was put in place to meet an August 2000 opening date. "For the lighting design," says Bauer, "this meant developing a plan that would dramatize the architecture, be easy to maintain, and be readily available in Australia." A key fixture supplier was Zumtobel Staff Lighting which maintains an office in Sydney. Intralux was the resource for the cove light system and wall washers.

Bauer narrowed his lamp specifications to five basic types, all from Osram, to handle the tasks of ambient, feature, and accent lighting: Pentron T5 fluorescents; Dulux L 18W and 55W compact fluorescents; Dulux T/E 32W triple-tube CFLs; and QT90 90W 12V bi-pin halogen. "The lighting maintains a lux level of 600-750 throughout the store," Bauer points out.

In the open-sell cosmetics department, lighting that flatters skin tones is provided by a combination of fluorescent and halogen lamps. T5 triple-tube CFLs are concealed by architectural elements or low-brightness recessed luminaires. Single-lens 12V single-ended halogen lamps are contained within the 135mm aperture deep cone recessed fittings. Shelves and valances are illuminated by 3000K T5 fluorescent tubes with a CRI of 82. Compact fluorescent light rails glow within curved showcases. Feature lighting uses luminaires fitted with 135mm 12V 90W spot/flood reflectors. Center fixture illumination is with 135mm aperture luminaires. Cove lighting uses 55W 3000K 80+CRI high-lumen PL lamps and flexible fittings with reflector.

In the Young Contemporary Department, lighting integrates with the dramatic interior architecture. Downlights are 165mm-aperture triple-tube fluorescent lamps, clustered in drops. Accent light monopoints are mounted within pop-ups.

For Men’s Sportswear, ceiling light slots and wall washers dramatize the architecture. Downlights fitted with 32W triple-tube compact fluorescents and accent lights with 90W 12V halogen lamps help customers to examine hanging and folded merchandise in an inviting environment that enhances the displays.

The ceiling in the Toy Department was translated by RYA into an imaginative visual focal point. Curved and circular displays offer customers pathways to discover items on freestanding and perimeter fixtures. Intersecting ceiling coves are illuminated with 55W fluorescent lamps. Recessed downlights contain two 32W triple-tube lamps. The tall custom wall sconce uses T5 light channels behind the frosted facia.

In the third-floor Home Goods Department, a custom frosted glass fixture suspended above the front food preparation demonstration workstation has an angled mirror attachment so the audience can watch the chef’s cooking activities. Glare-free lighting is provided by recessed downlights and the illuminated central cove.

Transitions and Translations

Bauer notes that David Jones represents Australia’s first major retail triple-tube installation. "Working halfway around the world presented its challenges," Bauer says. In addition to the distance involved—"You can’t just take a quick ride over to the job site," he points out—there are often significant differences in meanings of product descriptions that are time-consuming to translate, especially in a first-time situation. Some of the considerations Bauer encountered include the difference in lamp-testing criteria in Australia and those in the US, the 240V power standard, and the differences in performance of PAR lamps and A-lamps in Australia versus the US counterparts.

Bauer and Wayne Wa of Total Electrical Connection, Milperra, Australia, worked closely with Zumtobel’s Australian representatives "to fine-tune the spot reflectors and floods to get the distribution we needed from the 90W halogen lamp we specified," Bauer says.

Natural light is brought into the central well and surrounding selling departments by a five-story-high central atrium culminating in a glass ceiling. The building itself, designed by architects Hassell Pty Ltd. of Adelaide, features exterior window walls that let customers see out to familiar landmarks, "to integrate the store environment with the city it lives in," commented project architect Mariano De Duonini, and introduces natural light into perimeter departments so shoppers can view merchandise under daylight conditions.

David Jones flagship stores in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane are also set for upgrading, with RYA as the design consultants and Integrated Lighting to design the illumination.

Vilma Barr is a New York-based writer specializing in design and merchandising. She can be contacted at

David Jones Ltd. Adelaide

Retailer’s Project Team
Peter Wilkinson, chief executive officer
Steven Goddard, operations director
Rob Dickson, general manager, projects
Dieter Poisel, senior store planner
Robert Heaton, general manager, merchandising
Linda Millar, buyers’ representative
Craig Jones, construction manager

Project Design Team
Robert Young Associates
Tom Herndon, CEO/principal-in-charge
Mike Wilkins, creative director
John Von Mohr, project designer

Hassell Ltd.
Mariano De Duonini

Lighting Consultants
Total Electrical Connection
Wayne Wa
Integrated Lighting Concepts
Bernard V. Bauer, LC, IES

Lighting Equipment
Osram Sylvania T5 Pentron lamps
Osram Sylvania Dulux L PL18 lamps
Osram Sylvania Dulux L PL55 lamps
Osram Sylvania Dulux T/E PLT32 lamps
Osram Sylvania QT90 lamps

Zumtobel Staff downlights with PLT32 lamps; accent lights with QT90 lamps
Intralux cove light system with PL55 lamps; wall washers with PL 55 lamps

Photos: Tim Griffith