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Case Study
South Island, New Zealand

The Arte of Lighting Art

Images courtesy of Ryan McCauley Page Gallery Wellington

The formula for hanging art in the home is relatively easy and is well covered in a variety of 'how to' lessons on numerous websites. However, displaying photographs, prints and other artwork in a way which protects them requires a considerable amount of research.  

A crucial factor in this is the illumination, both for the enjoyment of the work and the future protection of the piece. Good illumination of artwork will draw attention to the piece, highlight the creative intent of the artist and influence the experience of the viewer.

Engaging the help of a lighting consultant from the outset will streamline the process. The lighting consultant will need to know the preferred location of the art, the amount of natural light received and the potential UV bouncing around the room at different times of the day. They will also ask about the home generally, each individual zone, and ask how you experience light in the areas you are living and/or working in. They will consider the specific room dimensions, what happens in the room, and general furniture placement in the context of the existing or planned glazing, paint finish and the client’s desired ‘feel’.

Once these elements are well understood, the lighting consultant can provide the client with the best options for a unique and personalised lighting plan. 

Speaking generally, irrespective of the type of art, choosing a warm, neutral colour such as 2700 lumens, will provide a glow to the area, which is neither too warm or harsh, nor will alter the colours used in your piece.

The lighting consultant will advise how you can get the same effects as a soft bulb using LED lighting. The developments in LED technology ensure that these types of lights emit very little heat, so will be a preferable choice over other lamps, especially for spotlights or track fittings with a concentrated beam. During the warmer months when windows and doors are left open, LED lighting does not attract insects - another advantage.

For this particular property, Richard Crane from ECC Wellington created a lighting plan to fit with a complex renovation. The priority was to select and place the best available lighting products to display an art collection. Working alongside the architect, Shana Skelton of Warren and Mahoney, and the electricians, a comprehensive lighting plan was devised.   

There were many considerations for the renovation of the dwelling. The building was primarily concrete, ceiling heights ruled out all pendants and made track choices difficult. Raked ceilings created perceptual illusions that challenged not only the scale of the fittings, but also their proportion and placement. By applying creative strategies and working across different architectural lighting brands, the desired effect was achieved.      

The clients expressed a clear vision that the lighting of a room would appear seamless and low profile. Products from Flos, iGuzzini Brightgreen and Mondrian provided the desired effect. The clients asked that illumination should “magically wash” the wall and create a glow rather than provide a more traditional approach.  The atmosphere in each zone space has been enhanced by lighting, the art collection has been expertly illuminated and the clients are thrilled with the results.

Products used in
The Arte of Lighting Art