The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds. Its headquarters is the inspiring and beautifully maintained Gibbs Building in London’s Euston Road, designed by Hopkins Architects in 2004.
At the western end of the atrium is the stunning Bleigiessen sculpture. Its fluid, cascading form of 142,000 glass spheres suspended along steel wires, represents the intriguing pattern created by dropping molten lead into water.
Eric Maddock specified Sill Lighting UK for the original metal halide scheme to light both the atrium and sculpture in 2004. However both have now been replaced by an energy and maintenance saving LED solution, again by Sill UK.
The lighting design accentuates the undulating form of the sculpture, complementing the architecture that surrounds it. This stunning effect is enhanced by Sill’s projectors, which penetrate the wires and emphasise the shifting colours and brightness within the glass. The sophisticated lighting causes the spheres to disappear into darkness and reappear, increasing the expressiveness and complexity of the sculpture.
Sill’s 141 and 140 high efficiency projectors, with warm white LEDs, replace previous Sill metal halide fittings in the atrium. Both fittings are also used to accent light the Bleigiessen, but here neutral white LEDs are used to achieve the strongest aesthetic effect. Using LED replacement light fittings with 0-10V dimmable control options has cut energy consumption by over 60% in the Gibbs building.
The projectors in the nine-storey atrium require specialist rope access, and the longevity of the new Sill LED fittings will ensure that maintenance requirements are minimal.
Alan Aldridge, section head of building services at the Wellcome Trust, comments, “In the context of lighting a sculpture and atrium of this size and complexity, it was an essential requirement for this project to complement and enhance the existing architectural aspects of the building. The Sill LED product enabled the Trust to meet these key criteria, at the same time as contributing towards its environmental goals. It is definitely a win-win situation for the Trust.”
Project operations manager Matt Thomas explains further, “We were looking for an LED fitting that would provide us with energy savings and also a reduction in maintenance costs. Whilst most fittings could provide the energy and maintenance savings, the Sill luminaire was the only one whose design we considered to be on a par with the other fixtures and fittings within our building. The company also provided lamp temperature options that most others didn’t.”
The flexibility, efficiency and reliability of Sill’s LED system confirmed its specification for the re-illumination of the Bleigiessen. The new lighting solution corresponds with the original fittings, using identical brackets to ensure the smooth transition from the old system to the new. The LED technology’s energy savings reflects the Wellcome Trust’s green credentials.
Sill Lighting is a market leader in developing LED and high performance metal halide projector systems that provide sustainable solutions to often complex lighting requirements. The company produces the highest quality in optics and thermal engineering using environmentally friendly materials and offers specifiers and users bespoke and adaptable lighting systems.