Shopping under stars at the Bory Mall complex in Bratislava, Slovakia

Shopping malls are often carelessly designed complexes with a focus primarily on cost savings. Some, however, show that a construction project can also be implemented to provide an ­architecturally aesthetic appearance. One such example is the recently opened Bory Mall on the western outskirts of Bratislava. Its ceiling evokes the image of a starry sky that was achieved with Erco’s Skim downlight.

As its developer and operator, Slovakian financial group Penta had commissioned the acclaimed Italian architectural firm of Massimiliano Fuksas for the project. The mall, which extends over two main levels, was designed with focus on its interior. Rather than arranging the stores in the familiar straight lines, the architects devised an ostensively organic network of corridors. The winding and meandering mallways narrow and widen in places offering a variety of stimulating routes through the mall.

Numerous openings in the ceiling between the two main levels allow daylight to penetrate through to the lower section. Fluid shapes bring to mind architecture of the 1950s, giving the shopping experience a spatial quality.


The ceiling area of the corridors and plazas was to be illuminated in a manner that would evoke the image of a starry sky primarily through an irregular arrangement of point light sources. For this, the architects required uniform lighting of at least 300 lux. That is where Erco’s Skim recessed luminaire came in. After comparing the products of various providers in a mock-up, the choice was made for Erco’s suggested solution. The deciding factor was the fact that the use of Skim downlights over competitor products meant 20 per cent less luminaires were needed for the illumination, while the operating costs could be reduced by as much as 40 per cent – excellent efficiency of the LED luminaires makes a strong argument for any investor thinking long term. Along with Skim’s economic aspects, equal weight was given to the downlight’s convenient installation, the visual brilliance of a lens system which Erco had specially developed for Skim, and the luminaire’s simplicity and flat design.


On the whole, 2500 Skim downlights with a 28W output of neutral white light at 4000K were required to illuminate an area of around 20,000 square metres in the Bory Mall. A third of these downlights were fitted with oval flood lenses, the other two-thirds have wide flood characteristic. The Skim downlights with oval light distribution were installed along the display windows to eliminate distracting overlaps with the shop lighting. During the day, when natural light penetrates through the round skylights of varying sizes in the ceiling to illuminate the retail section, only some of the Skim downlights are added. The luminaires are activated as required via an automatic three-stage control setting to ensure optimal illumination at any point. The resulting ambience throughout the mall is as enjoyable as it is stimulating.

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