Design Museum

Thursday 24th November 2016 marks the opening of the new Design Museum in London. The new home for the museum is the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, following an £83m refurbishment of the Grade II* listed building overseen by designer John Pawson, and architectural practice OMA.

Precision Lighting were approached by independent lighting designers Studio ZNA to develop a custom luminaire for the lighting of exhibited works, given the British manufacturer’s reputation for high performance architectural luminaires with carefully considered aesthetics.

Studio ZNA were tasked with developing the lighting scheme for the gallery spaces, and desired luminaires that were definitive examples of British design and engineering, symbolic of the museum’s aims and ambitions, and featured bespoke elements that reinforced the theme of designed for purpose.

Studio ZNA’s scheme called for over 160 Evo X11 LED luminaires to be customised with special adaptions for mounting on bespoke metallic structural elements within the exhibition area.

The Evo fixtures were well suited for the project, with 95CRI LEDs delivering excellent colour rendering, ideal for the colour-critical application of the new Design Museum, where variance and subtlety of tone would be crucial for many of the displayed exhibits.

Additionally, the unique features of the Evo X11s brought further advantages to the scheme. With a low friction bearing 360° rotation and a constant torque tilt mechanism, the Evo fixtures can be precisely focused, and yet offer flexibility for the development of the exhibition spaces and the potential for changing displays in the collection. As both the pan and tilt rotation can be locked, the exhibition team can be sure the luminaires are always casting the works in the best light despite the public access in the gallery spaces.

Further versatility to the Design Museum is offered by the inter-changeable optics used in the Evo family, allowing the beam angle to be adjusted on-site.

In addition to the Evo fixtures, Discus S11 luminaires were installed on the project, a particularly popular mounting solution as it offers specifiers the option of custom stem lengths, with Precision being able to tailor these according to the needs of the project. Discreet surface mounted variants from the award-winning Pico family were also used for the scheme. Both the Pico and Discus fixtures featured the same precision-aiming mechanisms of the Evo, showcasing the advanced features found throughout Precision’s spotlight range. Importantly for a project rooted in appreciation of design, both Pico and Discus share a common aesthetic to the Evo range, with the Precision spotlights offering a minimalist appeal.

Further equipment specified by Studio ZNA for the scheme at the Design Museum included miniature recessed LED fixtures from the Minimo family, versions with both 12° and 30° optics were installed for the opening museum, but as with the spotlight families, the distribution of the Minimo luminaires can be changed on-site with the use of interchangeable optics without the need for replacing complete luminaires. The elegant and discreet nature of the Minimo fixtures shares the same design language of the spotlight fixtures, providing a consistent appearance throughout the scheme.

The need for customisation, and a minimalist aesthetic, were crucial for an institution that celebrates the best in British design, and Precision Lighting were proud to support this magnificent museum in the move to its new home.

Lighting Designer

Studio ZNA


London, United Kingdom