When celebrated art expert Philip Mould and Company were planning the launch of a new location in London’s Pall Mall, the dealership opted for over seventy DR8 track mounted spotlights from Remote Controlled Lighting (RCL).
The new premises serve as a glorious home to Mould’s collections; featuring an array of pieces that represent the finest of Old Master canvases through to contemporary British artwork. The new location spans three stories, each wonderfully finished with silvery timber flooring and hessian wallpapers in 18th century hues, and the height of the ceilings allows the fantastic works to emerge with clarity.
Combination of traditional works and contemporary technology juxtapose in unique viewing environment
Philip Mould appointed Leckenby Associates Ltd to Design and Project Manage the new gallery, further to recommendation and their reputation for handing over projects on time and budget in both the retail and gallery sector.
Leckenby Associates commented of the design intent behind the galleries: “Our aim was to design the gallery to incorporate its many functional requirements, whilst still maintaining a traditional feel but with a contemporary twist. Working together with Heritage Designer Edward Bulmer, we have used traditional materials and craftsmen along with modern elements and methods to create the warmth and intimacy required to reflect the masterpieces to which it homes, whilst keeping clean lines and minimal fuss to ensure the artwork is the primary focus for all viewer.”
A sense of modernity was introduced through intelligent use of technology including media installations and videos that delve into the history of the pieces presented.
These carefully planned contemporary elements juxtapose nicely with both classic and contemporary architectural features within the gallery space, ideally providing the space with an aesthetic that both shows respect to the heritage of the building as well as providing a modern setting. The result is the fine works are presented in the tradition of the great public galleries and private houses but without the need for historic superfluous details, and the newer touches represent a daring endeavour in bringing the presentation of Old Masters forward. This melding of the past and present perfectly echoes the breadth of pieces displayed by the dealership, and the outcome is a stimulating venue for the viewing of both 16th and 17th century and contemporary works alike.
Ceiling-trench mounted remote controlled spotlights provide discreet, yet flexible solution
RCL, who had previously collaborated with Philip Mould in lighting the earlier Dover Street gallery and in illuminating the art presented at the Masterpiece fair in London, were invited to provide a lighting solution that provided the gallery the flexibility to adjust lighting scenarios to best light these fine works, in recognition of the requirements that the positions of hung artwork changes as new items are bought and sold by the dealership.
RCL have delivered a solution that utilises track mounted DR8s discreetly recessed into ceiling trenches. Discretion was key to the installation of the lighting system, as Leckenby Associates explained:
“There were a number of obstacles to overcome when designing this prestigious new gallery, not least the best way to light the beautiful artworks in a sympathetic and discreet way.
“By working closely with RCL and hiding all mechanical elements away behind the scenes and installing a solitary trough with hidden remote control track system and fitting, around the full perimeter of each gallery, we have minimised the ceiling clutter and maximised the artworks’ impact.”
RCL’s DR8s provide flexibility in lighting artwork in the commercial sector
Despite this recess, the DR8s still have a full ±90° tilt, perfect for illuminating the vertical surfaces that the pieces are displayed on. In addition, there is also versatility through the ±165° pan rotation; crucially for the gallery, the luminaire can be rotated through both the pan and tilt from ground level.
This was a key criterion for the Leckenby Associates team, as the architecture of the space posed a particular complication in regards to the lighting scenario.
"One of the great advantages of this gallery are the high ceilings on the ground and lower ground floor which we very much wanted to maximise, however this did give some problems when lighting the artworks.
“We needed to devise a way to easily adjust the fitting each time a new painting was hung. The use of RCL’s remote control spotlight system was invaluable, the system enables the gallery to safely and quickly adjust each spot light as and when required."
Thanks to the handheld controller, and RCL’s patented laser selection technology, the gallery team can adjust the position of lighting, as well as control the beam intensity, without requiring ladders, scaffolding or mechanical lifts. This ensures that with changing inventories, the gallery can quickly refocus the luminaires to spotlight their latest pieces without requiring additional investments, and due to the speed at which luminaires can be refocused; this results in no downtime of the gallery space for changing the lighting scenario.
90+CRI LEDs reveal depths of hues in Old Masters and contemporary canvases
As Philip Mould, also known for his role as presenter on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and Fake or Fortune, has developed an acclaimed understanding for how portraiture should be presented through a quarter of a century of art-trading, it was understood by the gallery that colour rendering of the lighting focused on the works would be critical. The LEDs within the DR8 were ideal for this, delivering 90+CRI and revealing the depth of hues throughout the pieces displayed. This heightened the intensity of the colours of each piece, contrasting sharply against the more muted hessian wall finishing.
To accommodate the varying sizes of artworks to be exhibited, luminaires with three different beam angles were specified for the gallery spaces. For pieces requiring narrow spots of light, twenty-seven luminaires were specified with 6° optics; while a further twenty-eight luminaires provide a flood distribution with a 24° optic.
To offer a balanced aesthetic, bespoke variants of the DR8s offering a much broader distribution of 43° providing complementary ambient lighting to the floor, ensuring comfortable orientation throughout the space.
RCL also supplied three recessed DR7s for the ground floor of the premises, offering the same handheld control of pan, tilt and intensity from the remote; the DR7s offer a flexible recessed solution for the gallery space. With no visible elements protruding beneath the ceiling line despite the versatility of the ±35° tilt, the recessed fittings respect the architecture of the building. The layout of the DR7s was planned as such to facilitate additional vertical surfaces, such as partitioned walls, that the gallery would require in future displays.
Individually dimmed spotlights light intimate viewing library
For the intimacy of the prestigious viewing library, where patrons are invited to peruse the storage library of paintings, Evo X11 LED luminaires from RCL’s sister company, Precision Lighting, were used to light the canvases. With a 20° wash of light, customers are emboldened to browse these additional works, empowering them to discover works for themselves, a privilege not normally offered by a commercial gallery.
Each luminaire is individually dimmable and switchable within this viewing space, with a push-to-dim dimmer, allowing fine-tuning of the lighting to the works being viewed. Colour tuning lens were supplied to warm the spotlights to 2700K, echoing the warmth of dimmed halogen but with increased efficiency.
Discreet, yet powerful Evo spotlights run length of the display windows
Spotlights from Precision were also used in the display windows; more powerful fittings from the Evo family, Evo X16 LEDs were selected for their high lumen output while maintaining a discreet appearance thanks to the minimalist aesthetic. Colour matched and mounted into Precision’s low-voltage Retrac track system, the luminaires and track are both carefully concealed behind the beam work that runs the length of the glass.
The effect ensures that the light sources of the Evo X16s are unobtrusive, and the focus of pedestrians passing the gallery is drawn towards the artwork rather than any conspicuous and distracting luminaires.
The completed lighting scheme is one that is focused on flexibility and versatility; these hallmarks of the RCL portfolio are perfectly attuned to a gallery that will win Philip Mould many plaudits for beautiful pieces presented in a unique setting, and with art that is perfectly lit. RCL were delighted to again support this acclaimed dealership with a lighting solution that is as simple and quick to adapt, as it is to hang a new masterpiece for viewing.