William Sugg are proud to be a part of the history of so many iconic monuments around the world. From Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge to Hong Kong’s Duddell Street Steps and Bomber Command Memorial, we are so pleased to have worked with such a wide range of clients to help light up some of the world’s most notable monuments. We discuss some of our favourite monument lighting creations over the last century as well as give some of our top tips on how to highlight iconic landmarks using lighting.

How to highlight monuments using landmark lighting

The way you light iconic monuments is a very important to get right. After all, a monument is a piece of art and deserves to be seen both in daylight and at night.  A monument is there to be seen, so it’s important it’s seen in all its glory.  Some things to consider when illuminating monuments is how to enhance their design features using light, and how this changes from daylight to night-time.  Use light to pick out the most prominent features of the monument and spotlights or focussed lights to direct the eye to a particular area.

Don’t just focus solely on the monument itself, think about other ways you can use lighting design to add to the impact of the area as a whole.  For example, if the monument is on a plinth, don’t just light the monument itself.  It’s important to ensure light spills onto the surrounding area to create a truly dramatic atmosphere and shows the monument off.

Another thing to think about is the brightness and colour temperature of the lighting.  Consider where your monument is placed and make sure that the temperature of the monument lighting is appropriate and coherent with.  For example, do not use a bright white light on a monument which stands alone in a dark area as this will wash out the monument’s key features rather than enhancing them.

Bomber Command (c) Adam Duffield

Our favourite monument lighting

Tower Bridge Lamps

Since the day Tower Bridge was opened in 1894, William Sugg and Co Ltd have been a part of this historic monument’s history. When Tower Bridge was first opened, the Bridge was gas lit using two-hundred William Sugg gas lamps placed both on the walls in the area and in the centre of the carriageway. Nowadays due to the advancement of the city and a larger traffic flow, the lamps have been removed from the centre carriageway but many still can be seen in the surrounding area.

Hong Kong’s Duddell Street Steps

Our team of lighting experts were approached to restore the Duddell Street Steps in Hong Kong in the late 1990’s. When restoring these lamps, it was made clear that the lamps were originally made by the company in around 1925. The lamps placed here are both the ‘Rochester’ lamp and the ‘Littleton’ lamp and these gas lamps are the final remaining gas lamps in Hong Kong. Read the full case study to discover the historical significance of this fabulous refurbishment project.

Bergen Harbour, Norway

William Sugg and Co Ltd’s lighting experts worked together with TW Wilson to create an Arc Lantern to illuminate a picturesque location in the UNESCO World Heritage site Bergen harbour in Norway. This lantern needed to meet specific design and size requirements dictated by its setting after the original gates in the harbour perished. The team created a modern powered, but historically designed lantern, which was suspended above the historic gate and is a wonderful addition to this world famous harbour.

Tower Bridge lanterns

Our top tips for monument lighting

As we’ve learned above, lighting a monument requires careful consideration of several factors, including the monument’s size, shape, materials, and location.  Here are some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Consider illuminating the monument from multiple angles: Lighting from different angles can create a more dramatic effect and highlight different aspects of the monument’s design.
  • Use appropriate fixtures: Make sure to choose fixtures that are designed specifically for outdoor use and can withstand the elements present. Avoid fixtures with high heat output that could damage the monument.  Make sure your fittings are manufactured with the appropriate IP rating.
  • Consider the colour temperature: The colour temperature of the light can impact the monument’s appearance. Cooler temperatures (5000K-6000K) can give the monument a brighter, more vivid appearance, while warmer temperatures (2700K-3000K) can create a softer, more natural look.  It’s also really important that the lighting of the monument itself complements the surrounding area.
  • Determine the appropriate brightness: The brightness of the lighting should be determined by the monument’s size and location. Avoid over-lighting, which can create glare and detract from the monument’s appearance.
  • Consult with professionals: Lighting design is a complex process, and it’s important to consult with experienced lighting designers who can help you achieve the desired effect while minimising energy use and avoiding light pollution.

Overall, the goal of lighting a monument should be to enhance its beauty and create a sense of reverence and respect for the history and culture it represents.

With nearly 200 years of heritage lighting experience, the team at William Sugg and Co Ltd are proud to have been a part of so many monument lighting projects. Get in touch with our team of lighting experts to discuss your monument lighting options.