Cálem are a historic fine wines brand known for their famous Port. Located in the city of Porto on the south bank of the Duoro River, they are widely recognized through successive international awards. Cálem was founded in 1859 by António Alves Cálem, who took good advantage of the liberal trade regime in the Douro region. Still family owned, it has become a well known visitor attraction for the city.
Cálem chose Imagination in London to create a unique and immersive museum with a cellar tour, tasting experience and corporate area and retail shop.
Recognised as a world leading authority on brand experience, Imagination’s vision (with close collaboration with the family who own the business) was to create a flowing path through the self guided museum, into the atmospheric cellars, on to a tasting experience zone and then end in a retail area. They wanted the lighting to emphasise the meandering route in its form and function. In addition the lighting was to integrate with other services such as the PA, speaker systems and projectors as well as multi adjustable spotlights with optics to suit the lit surfaces and/or exhibits.
Spectral proposed the H Profil 80 system which would be curved to follow the visitor path and finished in a unique textured colour to integrate into the palette of colour and textures proposed. All cabling could be hidden in the top channel to reduce clutter on the solid ceilings.
Key lighting design priorities were established early in the process; good colour rendition was essential – particularly to enhance the textural quality of the cellars – particular attention was paid to the magnificent huge oak barrels for example. Careful consideration was given to glare as many screens and projector systems were incorporated into the experience and reflections would be uncomfortable to visitors.
Offering a spotlight system that had full rotation and beam options for future exhibitions was welcomed by the client.
Other lighting elements included the Fado experience where visitors get to taste fine wines and the client uses the space for hospitality. An impressive swooping staircase gives you a grand introduction to the tasting area and low level led ‘step lights’ were used to enhance the drama. To emphasise the texture of the stone walls in this area, close offset pendant lights were chosen. Only the trim less reflectors of the Doolip pendants were revealed beneath the wooden baffled ceiling.
In addition to the curved H Profil theme, Spectral’s Stora LK was chosen over the taste tables for a more diffuse yet higher level of light for enhanced perception. They were also used in the retail space to compliment the dramatic swooping curve of the H Profil.