His Majesty's Theatre is a symbol of Perth and one of its oldest buildings. It is also one of the most important structures in the city's “Light Up the City” programme, and after almost 5 years of planning and design, the lighting system for its facade was unveiled on September 2016.The KLD Lighting Design studio used LED luminaires to meet the requirements of the “Light Up the City” programme guidelines, which focused on saving energy and enhancing the building's facade.
The initial brief for lighting the facade came from Heritage Perth, who were responsible for including the Maj (as His Majesty's Theatre is better known) in the shortlist of the “Light Up Perth” programme, which provided the funding for this lighting initiative. The building's facade had already been renovated 7 years before, but lighting was not included in the project. But once financing was made available, KLD was asked to design a lighting system for the facade, especially the part above the canopy that covers the entrance doors.
The two main limits the project had to contend with were its budget and the building's preservation. For conservation reasons, the luminaires could not be installed directly on the facade and installing the cables and systems also proved particularly difficult. The luminaires also had to be carefully hidden from view. In fact, the only devices that can be seen are the iPro floodlights on the upper side of the canopy above the entrance doors, but these have been painted white so they blend in with the colour of the building. Once the lighting design was defined, it immediately became clear that the budget stipulated would not cover the costs. Thankfully the Perth Theatre Trust agreed to provide further funding and the KLD and iGuzzini agreed on a sponsorship proposal that made the company a partner in the project.
In order to respect the building's iconic value, the project focused on a series of key factors. The first was colour. Right from the start, the lighting designers decided to use only white light at 3000 K to highlight the facade's architectural features and, in particular, its balconies and columns. Coloured lighting has therefore only been used for the street level area below the canopy. Initially only blue was to be used, but this was later changed to RGB, which is created by Led tube luminaires mounted on the cornice of the canopy above the entrance doors. The canopy incidentally was added long after the original theatre was built so it has a different cultural and historical worth. The designers decided that using coloured lighting in this part of the building at certain times would give the theatre a contemporary appeal. The second key factor is the level of illumination. The design team decided to use two levels of illumination to create a subtle contrast.
The intensity of the lighting increases slowly as it moves up the building, highlighting, in particular the balconies and window cornices, that are lit by Linealuce mini luminaires, and contrasting them with the lower intensity lighting of the columns. The ornamental balconies and columns are the building's main architectural feature. When the project was completed, the overall energy load used to light the entire facade was little more than 1 KW and the reactions to the new lighting system were all favourable, so the theatre can now be lit all night long from dusk till dawn.
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