Pharos flies high at Manchester Airport (UPDATED)

July 27, 2021
Terminal 2 gets a major lighting makeover by James Poore Lighting Design, using RGBW luminaires controlled by Pharos Architectural Controls products.

July, 2021: Manchester Airport is one of the UK’s busiest and most frequented transport hubs. With three passenger terminals and a cargo terminal, the site spans 1,400 acres and runs flights to over 200 destinations, placing it firmly on the global map as an important international hub.

The most high-profile aspect of the overall refurbishment is the striking overhaul of Terminal 2, introducing state-of-the-art facilities and making it a destination in its own right.

The newly fitted terminal, which the airport has described as a “major milestone” in its history, now boasts new shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, alongside two new airport lounges.

A key part of the refurbishment is the huge duty-free store, which has been designed to deliver an experience that spans much more than simply shopping. The atmosphere in the store has been enhanced through stunning lighting design, created by James Poore Lighting Design. The team’s brief was to create a dynamic and vibrant lighting scheme, reflecting the fact that the airport is the gateway to the energetic and vivacious city of Manchester.

Throughout his design, James has celebrated the busy and bustling nature of Manchester; a city that is always on the go. This party atmosphere is intrinsic to the main store, with materials and lighting working in harmony to bring the feeling of a night out into the retail experience.

The store features a central VIP zone, which boasts a glamourous lighting installation. A circular DJ bar has an array of linear luminaires vertically mounted around the base. These give the appearance of cascading upwards and outwards across the ceiling structure. These RGBW fittings use the same video feed as the feature screens behind the bar, and transforms them into an abstract light show.

The lighting across the store, including the VIP zone and bar, is controlled by solutions from lighting control experts Pharos Architectural Controls. James chose to work with Pharos as they have partnered on a number of previous projects, and he has seen first-hand the benefits of its solutions in being scalable, versatile and adaptable. With a number of control options required, including the ability to convert digital video content into a lighting effect, Pharos had all the right solutions to make this possible.

To meet the demands of the project, two Pharos VLC 50’s have been specified, alongside one TPC and four EDN20’s. The Pharos VLC – Video Lighting Controller – is a highly capable and cost-effective architectural lighting control solution for large LED pixel arrays such as presentation walls.

The TPC is an award-winning Touch Panel Controller with sleek styling, an advanced lighting control playback engine and a fully integrated user interface. The EDN – Ethernet Data Node - supports the control system by providing cost-effective Ethernet-distributed DMX ports for large control projects.

Speaking of the project, James Poore from JPLD said: “This project was ambitious and not without its challenges, with so much we wanted to achieve we needed suppliers we could rely on. We knew when it came to the integration and control that Pharos would be a great fit and they have delivered everything we envisaged, especially in terms of compatibility with the complex VDC systems yet coupled with a simple and easy to operate interface for the staff using it in a day to day basis.”

Tim Edwards, UK Sales Manager at Pharos added: “Being part of the project team for this stunning refurbishment at Manchester Airport was fantastic. The results are outstanding, James Poore and his team have created a stand-out lighting scheme. We were proud to play our part in bringing it to life.”

Project team:

Lighting Designer – JPLD

Interior Designer – The Design Solution

Interior Architect – The Design Solution

Main Contractor – Rediger

Electrical Contractor – PMS Electrical

Lighting control - Pharos (2 x VLC 50s, 1 x TPC and 4 x EDN 20s)

Project Management – Pulsar

Photography – Kenny Brown Photography


Pharos Architectural Controls provides advanced lighting control solutions for architecture, themed entertainment and other specialist industries. Our award-winning control products are installed across the world, running day and night in international landmarks, theme parks, shopping malls, stadiums, art installations, museums and airports.

Pharos is part of the Carallon group of companies, an independently-owned product development house specialising in innovative control systems. Its design team is the best of its kind – a group of highly motivated individuals committed to the creation and ongoing development of industry-leading products. Within that team is a wealth of experience in the field of advanced control solutions, with principal members responsible for ground-breaking entertainment lighting control consoles, architectural lighting systems and video processing technology.

More information can be found at


Pharos Architectural Controls


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*Updated July 28, 2021 9:35 AM for quote clarification.