Eden Project

St Austell, Cornwall, United Kingdom



Sophie Milligan / Charles Francis
Museums and Exhibitions

Strategy + Branding

The Eden Project is a unique and extraordinary place, where the world’s largest conservatory and botanical gardens tell stories about humankind and the natural world, in environments that include an indoor tropical rainforest.

The original construction budget left little for lighting, and the site was not generally open to the public after dark anyway. After several very successful years of operation, however, Eden had begun running concerts and other evening events in the summer, using temporary lighting in addition to the limited permanent lighting on site. When Eden conceived their first winter season of evening opening, Speirs and Major were commissioned to provide a strategy for Eden to manage lighting into the future, and to design flexible lighting to reveal and enhance the project’s messages after dark.

In a six month programme, extensive lighting was designed, procured and installed. Some is permanently fixed, other elements provide Eden with a stock of equipment and flexible permanent infrastructure so that lighting can be adapted to fit events, new displays and changes in the ever-evolving project.

The challenges of a tight programme and the need to maximise value for this charity project meant that traditional construction-industry approaches were not appropriate. Speirs and Major advised Eden on delivery and worked closely with the in-house team to arrange direct procurement of most of the equipment, and Eden assembled their own installation team, effectively working as their own contractor.

The mixture of accent lighting to the plants and structures, theatrical lighting within the biomes, floodlighting of the cliff-face, lighting to the temporary ice-rink and the pre-existing pathway lighting create a real sense of magic after dark, offering a very different experience to the daytime visit, and all the time reinforcing the Eden Project’s messages about man’s reliance on nature.

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