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Usher Hall Edinburgh

September 23 2010 — by Jesse Lilley
Completions
Speirs + Major has recently published its work on Usher Hall – one of Edinburgh's historic arts venues. The lighting design was part of a major refurbishment programme, led by architects LDN, to upgrade the building and add a new glass wing and extension.
Usher Hall Chandelier. Image: Speirs + Major / James Newton
Usher Hall Chandelier. Image: Speirs + Major / James Newton
Usher Hall Chandelier. Image: Speirs + Major / James Newton
Usher Hall Chandelier. Image: Speirs + Major / James Newton
Usher Hall Edinburgh. Image: Speirs + Major / James Newton
Usher Hall Edinburgh. Image: Speirs + Major / James Newton
Working closely with LDN architects, we were responsible for designing an appropriate lighting scheme for this significant Grade A listed building.

One of the particular challenges was finding a solution to lighting the new spiral staircase that links the original Usher Hall building with its modern extension. The cylindrical, concrete walls meant it was almost impossible to fix lighting in a way that would appear architecturally integrated. So we developed the idea of a suspended chandelier – a single shaft of light that forms the central axis of the spiral staircase. The suspended structure has solved many issues at once: not only general and emergency lighting, but also issues of mounting, cable routing and maintenance.

The 13.8m chandelier uses lengths of fluorescent tubes encased within double acrylic cylinders; the inner layer is frosted to soften the light while the outer layer is etched with a ringed pattern that catches the light. Each fluorescent section is separated by shorter sections of frosted glass rings uplit with LEDs to add sparkle and introduce variation along the length.

Speirs + Major designed the concept for the chandelier and developed it with bespoke manufacturer Mike Stoane Lighting in collaboration with architects Law Dunbar Naismith.