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Love and Light at Princes Mead Centre

As well as producing environmentally sustainable products, at Paper Starlights we’re also committed to sustainability in its broadest sense. For us that means understanding our whole business as a community - from materials supply, through design and making, shipping and sorting, right through to the end user. It’s a community that’s mutually dependent.

People just love paper stars – not only because of their beauty and the happiness they bring - but also because they’re handmade from natural materials, and reflect the sensibility and zeitgeist of our times. 

So, what better way to reach out to our wider communities than through Love and Light? 

Love and Light at Princes Mead Centre

Established in 1996, we specialise in high impact displays which are kind to the environment. With a background in UK Festivals, Events, Community Arts and Christmas Markets, we understand how the shared appreciation of a good visual show can create unforgettable experiences and produce environments where good things happen.

In 2019, as part of our commitment to sustainability and community, we teamed up with Princes Mead shopping centre in Farnborough, Hampshire. The management of the centre wanted to bring our mutually shared commitments to life, and approached us with 2 key objectives: the creation of an environmentally sustainable decorative display for Christmas 2019, alongside parallel activities to enhance the centre’s role within its wider community.

The project was a radical experiment in opening up retail spaces for wider community use. And to do so in a way where the brand values of both partners could be reflected in their engagement with the wider community. The initiative explored how a retail location could actively share Love and Light with its local community and was subsequently shortlisted for the 2020 Good Retail Community Award.

The anchor display for the centre used the full breadth of our product range. A multi-dimensional hanging display of stars within the centre’s iconic glass tower ensured that the display was visibly effective from 300 yards away and created a shared experience which extended beyond the footprint of the building. A bespoke unit was fabricated in-situ to install the display in this high glass-sided structure with no rigging points. Designed to create a high impact welcome to the centre, the main installation became a local landmark for the duration of the Christmas season. 

Love and Light at Princes Mead Centre

A social hub was also created within an empty unit in the centre for community groups and charities to use, free of charge – to meet, celebrate, and to pursue their own community objectives. Light, colour and geometry were used to transform the empty unit into an atmospheric space to bring people together.

Love and Light at Princes Mead Centre

 Local students designed and prototyped their own star lanterns as part of a college initiative to connect with local business.

Love and Light at Princes Mead Centre

The stars also created a theme for the centre for the entire season – for use across advertising and social media.

Paper Starlights at the Princes Mead Centre from Paper Starlights on Vimeo.

Liz Marsden, Princes Mead Marketing and Promotions Manager, said:

"Working with Paper Starlights to create our community hub has meant that we have been able to not only develop existing relationships within our local community and community groups, but also to help engage with new organisations.  We have been able to work with colleges, charities in particular and open up more personal conversations with our individual customers.

This partnership has allowed us to create a sustainable model which has not only shared the entrepreneurial risks and costs but more importantly the benefits.  For us these types of projects are sustainability in its broadest and truest sense."

The project had a demonstrable impact on the centre’s footfall, with visitor numbers increasing by 19.8% over the equivalent period in 2018. 

As we move ahead, we continue to explore how both our products and projects can be used to increase sustainability – financially of course – and also in the broader ways highlighted by Liz Marsden.

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