When creating bespoke lighting systems for display cases, then a physical mock-up – as intensive and time-consuming as it will be – is an absolutely necessity for the best results.
Jonathan Howard recently travelled – in a Covid-safe manner, naturally – with designers from Casson Mann to the factory of Click Netherfield in Livingston, just outside Edinburgh. The aim was to test and refine the lighting in some key display cases for a new museum, opening in London in 2022.
Not only will the cases be built mainly from glass, but the contents of each case will be a variety of samples and specimens, all displayed in liquid-filled glass jars: with so many reflective and refractive surfaces in use, it becomes easy to see why only a mock-up could cope with the many variables and methods in play: lighting all of the objects to give them a suitable weight and clarity when they need to be limited in light levels, while making sure that labels and graphics are very clearly illuminated is quite a feat of engineering and one that has been occupying us in the recent months.
Separation of light levels between graphics an objects has been developed using a combination of very narrow beam angle LED fixtures by Vexica, with a series of masking elements developed by Jonathan & Click’s designers, which has meant that we can achieve light levels of over 200 lux on a graphic that is merely millimetres from a shelf that is lit to a maximum of 50 lux; this separation will allow visitors to read small text easily, while not suffering with visual accommodation problems when they look past to the objects themselves, displayed at conservation light levels that will protect their organic content. As the source of the light is masked from view, we cut extraneous reflections and glare that could easily make the multiple glass and metal surfaces become their own light sources and a source of visual confusion.
The museum will not open until well into 2022, but this work needs to be carried out now to ensure that cases can be built in good time for transport and assembly on site, ready for the collection to be transferred to the finished gallery.
Casson Mann‘s design for Eneko at One Aldwych has won the award for Best restaurant in a hotel at the 2017 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. The awards, hotly contested over thirty categories from best restaurant to best Middle Eastern & Aftrican bar, are judged by a team of industry-recognised figures and were presented at King’s Cross Events Space on 6 October.
Casson Mann’s scheme was judged to be the winning scheme from a shortlist of seven entries that included the designs of the new Devonshire Club in London, Rofuta in Birmingham & Refuge in Manchester.
The design of the restaurant necessitated a complete re-think of a difficult space: below ground in a corner of a large London hotel, with no access to natural light. The scheme created a grand staircase entrance to a mezzanine bar that floated over the restaurant below, giving a sense of spaciousness and airyness to a space that had had little of either before. Casson Mann’s palette of textures and materials reflected the heritage of chef Eneko Atxa’s Basque heritage, using local woods for the tables and ceramics typical of the area for wall claddings.
DHA were engaged to provide the lighting scheme, including elements of concealed lighting so that diners are given the impression of being surrounded by natural light, despite being metres underground. Shane Holland Design was brought on board to create handmade suspended light fixtures over each booth table to a particular design by Casson Mann’s creative director, Roger Mann.
Yutyrannosaurus in the new gallery – image from the Miami Herald
DHA’s newest collaboration with the renowned exhibition designers, Casson Mann, has opened at the Frost Science Museum in Miami. The gallery, Feathers to the Stars, tells the story of flight from the evolution of birds to the space race, using a huge range of media & objects from some of the key points in history. The star exhibit is a life-sized model of a feathered dinosaur, Yutyrannosaurus, displaying some of the latest thinking in the appearance & evolution of dinosaurs. The Miami New Times was one of the first to review the new museum, and described it as worth the wait
The Benjamin Franklin Museum is the subject of an article on the Museum + Heritage website this month. Not only is the unique nature of the man discussed, giving rise to a fascinating exhibition about life in Revolutionary America, but also the level of Anglo-American co-operation required to make the project come to fruition. We worked with Casson Mann on this project, and the American curators, Remer & Talbott.
Our recent work for Casson Mann and the National Maritime Museum, the Navy, Nelson & Nation exhibition is covered in a piece by Tom Banks in Design Week. The article describes how the exhibition gives visitors an impression of shipboard life by using spaces with similar dimensions to those experienced by sailors.