Speirs + Major was invited to re-light Usher Hall in Edinburgh – one of Scotland's historic arts venues. The project was part of a major refurbishment programme, led by architects LDN, to upgrade the building and add a modern extension.
Working closely with the architects, our contribution was to design an integrated approach to light for this important Grade A listed building, carefully blending old and new.
One of the challenges was finding a solution to lighting the modern spiral stairwell that links the original Usher Hall with its modern extension. The cylindrical, concrete walls meant it was almost impossible to introduce light in a way that would appear architecturally integrated.
Therefore, we developed the idea of a contemporary chandelier – a single shaft of light that forms the central axis of the spiral staircase. The suspended light structure has solved multiple issues at once: not only issues of 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.