The guidelines for setting up art gallery lighting are fairly simple. There is tried and tested rule that for each metre of wall space that needs to be lit up, you will need one metre of track, one light fitting or track light, and one suspension kit (depending on the type and height of the ceiling).
While this general rule is very effective, there are different artwork lighting strategies will have a more customised outcome. In order to create the perfect set up, a little more technical information is required as the ideal lighting will vary depending on the type of artwork which is being displayed and the desired outcomes.
There are a few aspects to consider when lighting an art gallery:
- The type of artwork for instance, canvas, glass, oils or illustrations
- The artwork colourings
- The ceiling height
- The size of the artwork on display
- The type of dimming required
To offer you the best service possible, it is important to establish these details and then give us a call so we can talk about your project. It’s amazing how far we can get with a five-minute phone call and a few emails!
LED World track lighting is very versatile. Our extensive range of fitting and accessories allow for many configurations for your project.
There are different methods for mounting lighting for artwork in gallery spaces. Depending on your needs and the height of the ceiling, it is possible to install surface mounted tracks or suspended tracks.
If the ceiling is between 2.8 and 3 metres, the best option is to use surface mounted tracks. This is a simple process which involves screwing the track into plasterboard, concrete, or any other commonly used ceiling material.
If the ceiling is between 3 and 6 metres, then suspension mounted track is the most suitable solution. With this option, you hang the track from the ceiling within the recommended height range of 2.8 to 3 metres, enabling the lights to be closer to the artwork on display.
Our LED World suspension kits come in two different sizes; 1.5 and 3 metres. Both these kits can be adjusted to the desired length on site, allowing for maximum flexibility.
Cool WhiteCool white lighting (3100K - 4500K) has an intense and vibrant white colour that is best suited for areas where tasks lighting is needed such as technical work environments. This is because the temperature gives off a natural white light and does not distort the appearance of colour.
Warm WhiteWarm white lighting (2000K - 3000K) has a smooth and relaxing feeling and is commonly used in pendants, lanterns, ambient commercial and retail spaces as well as table and floor lamps. It is referred to as the gentlest light and resembles candlelight.
Colour Rendering Index
Colour rendering refers to the way that a light source impacts the way a colour is seen by the human eye and how colour variations and shades are interpreted. The Colour Rendering Index or CRI is a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the CRI level, the more accurate the lighting source represents the true colour of the artwork. It is always recommended to specify lighting with a higher CRI level, no lower than 85, but higher than 90 for optimum results. Using low-CRI lighting will make the colours appear dull and washed out which will compromise the appearance of the artwork. Choosing a higher CRI will make the colours pop and enhance the viewer experience.
Dimming is an important feature when it comes to art gallery lighting. There are many different dimming options available. Choosing the correct method will depend on the characteristics, the lighting configuration used and the intended use of the space.
Because exhibitions change from time to time, art gallery lighting need to be adaptable. Each work of art is individual and unique, and will therefore require different lighting levels to achieve its optimal appearance.
Here are some of the most common methods used for dimming:
DALI & C-Bus Dimming System
This system was widely used in larger galleries, such as in the national galleries in Australia, between 1988 and 2012. A centralised computer system allows you to group control the dimming and also provides an on-off function. However, the purchase and installation costs are very high, and programming the function of each light can be a slow process.
WiFi dimming is the most recent and advanced technology used for controlling lighting systems. It’s a cost-effective option which offers an easy setup; it works by connecting the light fittings with your central WiFi network. The lights can then be controlled via an app on a smartphone or tablet.
This is a flexible option which allows group dimming, timing, on-off and colour change between warm and cool whites (3000K – 6000K).
Traditional Manual Wall Dimming
With this method, you can control the level of light by using a wall dimmer. For a single circuit system, it means all the lights will dim at the same time. On a 3-circuit system, you’ll have control over 3 different groups of lights. This can be time consuming if you were adjust the dimming of a whole exhibition or gallery.
Some light fittings are available with a small on-board dimmer, which allows you to physically dim the light level on the lighting fixture itself using a manual knob.
The lighting design of a gallery impacts the experience of viewing the art on display. As well as ensuring you have a suitable installation method, it is essential to use lights with a high CRI to ensure colours are experienced in their true light.
LED World offers a range products which provide great flexibility when it comes to illuminating art. We pride ourselves on working together with you and taking you through everything you need to know about art gallery lighting; from the various mounting methods available to the best dimming options to suit your needs.
Artwork deserves high quality, well considered track lighting to showcase each piece. There is more to selecting lights for art than you might think. It is important to evaluate a number of factors including the artwork medium and properties such as colour, tone, size and shape will all need to be considered in order to display it in the best possible light.
We have a variety of spotlights for artwork to choose from, starting at our entry level Gallery Wall Wash range all the way up to premium Le Art and Le Art II ranges. All LED World lighting systems are high quality and their flexibility makes them an excellent choice for all art galleries.