The approach for a commercial project is different from the one for a domestic scheme as there are numerous factors that play a part into the final design. It is important to remember that a commercial project affects the public and in the case of an exterior scheme, it also affects the environment.
The first step for any project is to carry out a site visit and, in this case, we also carried out a night survey and test, to assess the issues with the existing lighting and have a better understanding of how to design the lighting for this monumental building. The existing lighting wasn’t energy efficient and it didn’t have any attention to glare, light pollution or security for the users. Aesthetic wise, it really didn’t do the building justice, flattening all the decorative elements that made this historic building remarkable. In addition to that, they were very large flood lights, with no effort to be discreet and try to blend in with the landscape.
The night test and survey involved trying luminaires with different lumen output and optics to decide which route was the best option to follow. There were various elements to the lighting design and each one of them needed a different solution, from the façade to the clock tower and navigational lighting for both pedestrians and vehicles. We tested out various light fittings specific to the task to decide if the effect was what we wanted it to be and if the lighting levels were right.
For Dulwich specifically, our objective was to avoid installing any lighting fixture onto the building itself, except for replacing existing ones. This implied that we could only illuminate the facade from the ground or pole mounted spotlights placed at a distance. As the landscape was being worked on, we decided that the recessed inground lighting was the best option as it allows for more depth and shadows. Moreover, this allowed the lighting to be completely unobtrusive during the day as it perfectly blended with the landscape.
Being a school, the whole project had to be submitted for planning permission to Southwark Council. This is where lighting plans, 3D renders and lux levels come into play as it is fundamental to specify the fixtures used, their positioning, the light output, glare rating, uniformity of light and effects onto the Grade II listed building.
Planning submission was approved for our design with no alterations. We undertook only part of the installation process: the clock tower. Utilising the locations of the existing fittings we used lighting fixtures with different optics for each side of the clock tower as the distances changed, so that we could achieve the most uniform illumination possible. Indeed, one light was installed on a roof 50m away to avoid securing any new lights to the building. To add depth to the clock tower we installed smaller spot lights to uplight the lantern as it needed detailing, or else it would have lost its grandeur.
The installation process for the clock tower required our trained and qualified electricians to work at heights and we are proud of our teams; Moonlight Design can take on a job from start to finish, whatever the task required.
After the installation is complete there is a last step to the lighting design which is carrying out one final test to adjust the light direction and make sure that everything is as designed.
The last piece of the project is to carry-out a night-time handover direct to the client. We walked them through every aspect of the design and installation so they could see their magnificent building illuminated to the standard befitting this grade II listed building.