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  •   A.C. Supply Exterior Lighting for V&A Garden

A.C. Supply Exterior Lighting for V&A Garden

1st September 2005

A.C. Lighting's Special Projects division has supplied the lighting control system and fixtures for the new John Madejski Garden at the heart of the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, London.

V&A South Kensington is probably the world's greatest museum of art and design, with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. The garden forms a central part of the V&A’s Future Plan - a ten year redevelopment project for the museum - and is named in honour of John Madejski, who donated £2 million to the V&A for its creation.

The garden was officially opened on 5 th July by HRH The Prince of Wales and created by award-winning designer Kim Wilkie Associates. Covering an area of 2,800m², the new scheme allows the garden to be used as both a simple courtyard garden and as a stage set for display, theatre, parties and events, providing a refreshing, light space at the centre of the museum for visitors to relax and socialise.

To enable the garden's transformation with dramatic lighting effects at night, KWA worked with Lighting Designer Patrick Woodroffe and Associate Designer Adam Bassett. The stunning lighting scheme includes bands of light around the central ellipse area, iridescent illuminated glass planters around the lawn and illumination of the museum windows and facades overlooking the garden courtyard area.

Following a competitive tender, A.C.'s Special Projects division were awarded the contract to supply, install, terminate and commission the majority of exterior lighting fixtures for the lighting scheme. To deliver the final scheme, A.C. worked closely with the V&A's project manager Lend Lease Projects, mechanical and electrical contractor MITIE Scotgate, M&E consultant Arup and Patrick Woodroffe Lighting Design.

One of the most challenging aspects involved lighting the reveals of the 137 windows along the facades of the surrounding building. To find the most suitable fixture for this aspect of the scheme, A.C. used their specialist knowledge of architectural lighting solutions and conducted onsite trials to test various fixtures. Following these trials, Patrick chose the iGuzzini Radius window fitting utilising a 3000K 70W metal halide lamp, as its powerful blade of light was really effective in highlighting the window reveals and bringing to life the ornate architecture.

To uplight a number of recesses in the facades and feature column details, seventeen iGuzzini MiniWoody accent spotlights were used due to their adjustable beam angles being ideal for this application, whilst iGuzzini Platea 5 degree spotlights were chosen to highlight two statues situated at high level. A 150W shuttered profile spotlight was also installed to illuminate a large triangular frieze.

To illuminate the twenty two 1m square glass planters around the perimeter of the lawn and the steps of the ellipse area, A.C. installed nearly 400m of LED strip lighting. This involved securing eighty eight 1m lengths of the strip lighting to the sides of the glass planters to effect a 'glow' in the blue/green glass, and fixing a further fifty 6m lengths to the underside of the pool steps.

A.C. also installed four Hunza Spike Spot 35W LV uplights in each planter to illuminate the lemon trees during summer. Delicate P-light strings were also supplied to illuminate the clipped Hollies inside planters during winter.

This presented M&E consultant, Arup, with the challenge of how to control each planter's LED strip lighting and uplights. For the solution they turned to A.C.'s Special Projects division, who manufactured an IP68 custom dimmer control enclosure to be installed underground adjacent to each planter. Each enclosure contains a DMX transformer and a DMX switch, allowing them to be daisy chained with both power and DMX, whilst still providing individual control of the fixtures in each planter.

The rest of the lighting control system consists of Pulsar Datapak III used primarily in non-dim mode, a Pulsar OS1 DMX outstation and Datasafe 4B rugged DMX cabling.

A.C. Special Projects Director Peter Keiderling, who oversaw the tender, commented: "With the many changes that occur and which affect the lighting installation during the construction of a project such as this, it's paramount that the lighting designer relays their objectives to the installation team to ensure that the installed system meets theirs and the client's expectations. From the start, Patrick Woodroffe Lighting Design issued us with a clear objective of exactly what the lighting design set out to achieve and with this guidance we were able to complete what is a wonderful architectural scheme."

Anthony Swain, Project Manager (Lend Lease Projects) commented: "A.C. Lighting worked with a positive "can-do" attitude. They coordinated their requirements effectively both in house and with the other Trade Contractors on site. The efforts put in by AC Lighting contributed to the V&A Garden project being completed on time and opened to great reviews."