Important considerations when creating a design for illuminating artwork
We recently completed a residential project where our client had an extensive collection of southwestern art and wanted to showcase a few pieces he was most proud of. We get this request quite frequently and there are many considerations.
Before diving into the technical aspects, it’s vital to consider the space that contains the artwork. Different spaces have distinct architectural features and layouts, which can significantly influence lighting choices. Large open galleries may require broad wall washing approaches while smaller more intimate rooms may benefit from focused illumination.
Consider the angles from which viewers will engage with the artwork. Art placed at eye level necessitates different lighting than pieces displayed overhead or at ground level. Tailoring lighting to viewing angles creates the best possible viewing experience.
Each type of artwork has its own unique lighting requirements. Sculptures, for instance thrive under multidirectional lighting that accentuates texture and form, while paintings demand uniform, diffused light that minimizes glare and highlights brushwork.
The color temperature of the source plays a crucial role in how colors are perceived in artwork. Cooler temperatures can enhance vibrancy while warmer temperatures can create a cozy ambiance. If unsure, experiment with different color temperatures to determine what works best.
Glare and reflections can disrupt the viewing experience. Employ anti-glare coatings on frames, position lights strategically to minimize reflections and use glare reduction accessories such as baffles or snoots on fixtures.
Finally, don’t forget the lighting control. Always use a dimmer when lighting artwork. Minor adjustments to intensity can create different scenes and moods for artwork.
The image of the artwork in the photo is an illustration where concealed lighting in the millwork and well-placed foreground objects helps frame the artwork, creating a unique visual for the client.
In conclusion, the art of illuminating artwork transcends technicalities and encompasses the harmony between aesthetics, preservation, space and viewing angles. As a lighting designer, understanding the space, catering to viewing angles, considering the artwork’s diversity, harmonizing color temperatures, mitigating glare, intensity control and recognizing distinct viewing zones within the space all contribute to crafting a mesmerizing experience that engages the viewer from every angle.
About DHS Lighting Design: We are an architectural lighting design firm with over 25 years in the commercial and high-end residential space. We use the transformative power of light to influence the function, mood, and productivity of interior and exterior spaces. Our clients are developers, architects, interior designers, and owners. Please contact us at 615.596.3001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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