Flight for Itsu Heathrow

An ascending rabble of shimmering butterflies marks the arrival of Itsu's new location at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Itsu T5 Heathrow by Cinimod Studio

Cinimod Studio have continued their work with Heathrow and Itsu by creating another mesmerising bespoke lighting feature for the Itsu Restaurant situated in Heathrow Terminal 5. Commissioned as a celebration of Itsu’s move to a bigger space within the building, the brief was to create an ambitious intervention that would transcend the split level arrangement of the terminal building.

The lighting feature captivates its audience with an impressive presence and creates a visual identity that makes the restaurant instantly recognisable upon entering the terminal. The design plays with Itsu’s core brand icon — the butterfly — while sympathetically enhancing the elegant interior design of the restaurant below with the vibrant use of light and colour. Cinimod continue their original concept for Itsu by conveying the motion of a butterfly as it travels through space. Implementing bespoke lighting control on each butterfly, light passes through the wings, giving a sense of movement to the static structure.

The design is another step in innovation for Cinimod Studio, and the form was parametrically engineered by Cinimod in close collaboration with Tall Engineers. A dramatic 12 metre angled mast rises from the ground floor and reaches into the airspace of the terminal building. A tensioned system of steel cables traverses the space, from which a total of seventy-two dichroic butterflies hang. Stretching over the space they collectively create a canopy or rabble of butterflies above the restaurant. Each of the butterfly wings are covered in dichroic film that reflects light onto the ceiling and shimmers down to the diners below, creating a dramatic colour shift that is dependent on the location of the viewer.

Cinimod Studio have a proven history of creating dramatic interventions within the UK airport terminals, and the result is a surreal lighting feature that provides an adventurous and beautiful addition to the Itsu restaurant.


Client: Itsu
Design: Cinimod Studio
Installation: Vertex Rope Access & Cinimod Studio
Structural Engineer: Tall Engineers
Electronics Engineer: Cinimod Studio
Onsite Contractor: QSF Interiors
Additional Manufacturers:
ADS, Vision Visual Solutions, S3i, Kemps Lighting, Electroparts, DPMS,