In 2016, the Royal Academy of Arts were looking to replace their current stock of gallery luminaires with new LED sources, preferably without the need to change their existing electrical infrastructure and lighting controls. Arup’s lighting division acted as the advisor to the Royal Academy and considered tenders from a number of manufacturers. They opted for the most project-compatible lighting solution, submitted by iGuzzini, whose luminaires are now in use at the Royal Academy.

The project involved the installation of 1500 iGuzzini Palco LED projectors featuring patented Opti Beam Lens technology which produces a uniform, high quality light beam. The wide range of accessories available in the Palco product family offers great versatility through a variety of solutions and accents. Moreover, the individual components (e.g. adapter, driver, accessories, Bluetooth module, LED chips) making up the Palco luminaires are easily replaceable. This facilitates maintenance and ensures that the luminaires can be regularly updated with the latest technology, rendering the lighting system fully ‘future-proofed’.

The Palco luminaires feature three different optics: Flood, 10° Spot and 5° SuperSpot. Flood optics with elliptical lenses for general wall washing lighting. 10° Spot optics featuring a bespoke internal spill ring and a soft lens filter, and 5° SuperSpot optics provide accent lighting to small and medium-sized paintings.

The luminaires chosen have a colour temperature of 2700 K – a colour which was felt to be more sympathetic to the architecture and art typically displayed – and a high colour rendering index (CRI 97) even for critical colours such as red (R9>90). This enhances the chromatic nuances of the artworks, and improves the conservation conditions by keeping UV and IR emissions to an absolute minimum.

The luminaires, painted to match the chromatic features of the exhibition areas, were fitted on pre-existing tracks, using adapters, to allow flexible beam ranges and frequent scene changes. The decision to use Casambi Bluetooth technology and eldoLED drivers – featuring a 100% – 0.1% dimming range – provides great versatility and widens the range of possible lighting effects. Each luminaire can be accessed and individually dimmed via the Casambi app. Last but not least, the system also features iBeacon technology which can be enabled, thanks to a customised app, to send information, such as details about the art, directly to visitors’ electronic devices when located within the area covered by the beacon.