Westminster Abbey

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Phase one of the relighting of the Westminster Abbey has been unveiled to the public.

  • Lighting Design: Speirs Major
  • Photography: James Newton Photographs

Whilst already well underway with ongoing design and manufacture work on other phases of technical architectural lighting in the abbey, we were also asked if we would look at fundamentally upgrading the light sources in highly prominent crystal chandeliers.

Working closely with Speirs Major, the task was to refurbish the lighting within the 3m high Waterford Crystal chandeliers, that were donated in 1965 by the Guinness family to mark the 900th anniversary of the founding of the Abbey. Each chandelier comprises around 500 individual parts with glass pieces and drops shaped by hand. At the time they each hosted 56 LED retrofit lamps that were deemed to be well below par.

What is ReNew?

We produced 56 LED modules for each of the sixteen chandeliers with a silicone optic offering a ~340º omnidirectional decorative beam. Lumenetix colour tunable modules were used that dim down (visible flicker-free and checked for HD TV broadcast compatibility) from a peak 800lm in 1% increments. The available colour temperature ranges from 1650K – 8000K and is controlled wirelessly using DMX that can adjust the module intensity, colour, saturation and hue. The chandeliers use a total of 224 DMX addresses. Each module carries four. The tiers are controlled separately so that both the colour and brightness of each tier within a pendant is tuneable.

Eight chandeliers hang in the nave and eight in the transepts, winched from the ceiling to be swapped out on site one by one.

As well as a huge focus on the chandeliers that tower high above centuries of history, we were also asked to look at the high level lighting. Responding to Speirs Major's design specification, we developed a bespoke ledge seated aluminium column, intended to have minimal impact on the fabric of the building and support up to eight STX2.111 heads for both up and downlighting. Each head boasts 3850 initial lumens and uses a range of accessories including snoots and spread lenses, to best compliment the rich gothic architecture.