speirs + major: usher hall, edinburgh speirs + major: usher hall, edinburgh
nov 22, 2010

speirs + major: usher hall, edinburgh

usher hall, edinburgh by speirs + major all photos by james newton

speirs + major were invited to re-light usher hall, edinburgh, one of scotland’s main historic arts venues. the project was part of a major refurbishment, led by architects LDN, to upgrade the building and add a modern extension. our aim was to design an integrated approach to light, carefully concealing equipment and retaining the architectural integrity of the building.

one of the challenges we faced was finding a solution for lighting the spiral stairwell that links the original usher hall building with its modern extension. the cylindrical, concrete walls meant it was difficult to fix lighting in a way that would appear architecturally integrated. so, they developed the idea of a contemporary chandelier – a single shaft of light that forms the central axis of the spiral staircase. the structure solved several issues at once: not only 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.

speirs + major designed the concept for the chandelier and developed it with bespoke manufacturer mike stoane lighting in collaboration with architects law dunbar naismith.

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