Lighting a Masterpiece: The Royal Opera House
Photo by ©James Newton
Bespoke lighting for one of London’s most prestigious buildings
The Royal Opera House recently unveiled a £50.7 million transformation, including renovations to the entrances, ground floor lobby and the addition of a 400-seat auditorium.
The redesign by Stanton Williams has ‘opened up’ the 286-year-old building, creating a larger foyer area and increasing access from two brand new entrances. These changes were made as part of an initiative aimed at attracting wider audiences to the venue, which will now also open to the public during the day.
Kemps Architectural Lighting had the pleasure of creating a series of bespoke lighting products for the landmark redevelopment after being brought on to the project by lighting designers and longstanding Kemps client, StudioFractal.
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Given the stature of the building and scale of the refurbishment, it came as no surprise to us that the brief was for bespoke lighting products. It was clear that relying on off-the-shelf fittings wouldn’t provide the seamless finish and impact required for such a unique space.
StudioFractal had relied on our bespoke capabilities many times before, most recently at the Heathrow T5 First Class Wing. As a result, their designers were confident we had the design and production expertise required to deliver their concept.
Our brief involved designing a number of bespoke LED fixtures for the bar area, shop and staircases. Some of the fixtures would be embedded within the wooden clad and embossed ceilings, while some would be wall-mounted luminaires. We also needed to create a series of fixtures that would seamlessly integrate into the staircases.
Photo by ©James Newton
The bespoke design process
Working closely from StudioFractal’s designs, we designed an aluminium LED profile to the exact dimensions specified. Once these profiles were tested and approved, we began adapting them to include additional features, such as a small LED pcb with optics for the slatted bar ceiling and the illuminated solid acrylic pendant lighting.
The process was a long, meticulous journey, which required ongoing communications between our product design team and the lighting designers at StudioFractal. Added to this were the typical pressures that come with any large refurbishment, such as tight deadlines and syncing up with our supply partners.
Despite these challenges, the combined expertise paid off. We created a series of impeccably-finished bespoke lighting fixtures that reflect the quality of their surroundings.
Photos by ©James Newton
Installing within a landmark
A total of 80 metres of the bespoke LED profile was installed in the bar area, 21 metres into the retail shop and a further 28 bespoke fittings were added to the stairs. The installation was completed by Playfords Electrical, with Kemps supporting on-site for the more complex stair fittings.
The finished space is stunning, balancing pools of natural light with the angular stripes of our embedded linear LEDs. The building needed to retain its elegance while opening itself up to the wider world and the lighting design by StudioFractal has certainly succeeded in meeting this brief.
From today, we’re open every day from 10am 🎉— Royal Opera House (@RoyalOperaHouse) September 21, 2018
Come and explore our new front of house spaces including a café, bars, restaurants and shop - no ticket required! ☕️🍷🍽🛍 #royaloperahouse pic.twitter.com/yPe5NUePUt
For the team at Kemps, this was a milestone project. It’s always a privilege to see our fittings illuminating a beautiful landmark building, but especially when it’s with such intricate work. It’s a credit to our ability as manufacturers to realise bespoke ideas down to the smallest millimetre.
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