Lighting shapes our lives. It influences the way we work, the way we experience our home lives and the way we socialise with friends. We interact with this technology every day on a personal level – you only have to think of the various lighting sources that you use for the same space over the course of the day to know this is true. Whilst it may go unnoticed, one important way we relate to lighting is through the heritage sites across the country.
An increasing number of councils and private enterprises are investing in heritage lighting projects, and for good reason. When heritage lighting is designed and installed properly, by experts, it creates a number of benefits for the building and surrounding environment. Take for example, a restoration project of heritage lighting outside an historic town hall. As well as improving the overall look of the building, this restoration in itself could reinvigorate the interest in the building for locals and visitors alike, as well as potentially drive economic value from local business including venue hire.
In this way, heritage lighting serves a much higher purpose than being merely functional. When successful, a lighting project of this nature can help to placemark a location of historic significance and reestablish it as a place of historic interest. In fact, the sensitivities of any given site deserve to have an appropriate level of attention paid to them in order to create the right environment for observers and users.
Take a walk through the streets of any quaint village in the UK, for example, and you’ll instantly be taken in by its atmosphere. This (of course) is created by the structural signifiers of that environment – old brick houses, crooked wooden beams and winding cobbled streets being just a few examples. A large part of creating this setting is the lighting.
We were once tasked with such a task in the village of Hinton St George. The streetlighting needed some attention and one of the options would have been to install modern, plain street lighting. Not only would this conflict with the hamstone buildings but their design was likely to spread light in all directions, which diluted the beauty of the starry countryside sky.
Our solution was to introduce our Camberwell lanterns with 70W high pressure sodium light sources, which provided better lighting with low energy consumption. The design of the lantern was perfectly in keeping with the aesthetic of the village and also ensured that the light did not pollute the striking stars in the night sky. The overall charm of the village remained and will do so for generations to come.
It is clear that heritage lighting should be considered as a suitable and, in cases of historic importance, preferable solution to standard or modernised lighting fixtures. We invite all architects and lighting designers to consider heritage lighting for their projects (albeit with modern LED light sources as required). William Sugg & Co is an industry-leading lighting company that can help you to realise your vision and shed light on the innovation of your plans.