30 August 2007

Gradus Lighting has simplified and improved the lighting scheme within Nottingham’s St Barnabas Cathedral by recommending and installing a series of specific additions, all designed to maintain the impressive aura of worship within the historic Grade II listed building.

Built in the Early Plain Gothic style between 1841 and 1844, St Barnabas Cathedral is considered to be one of Augustus Welby Pugin’s finest works. Although the Cathedral’s existing lighting scheme was of a high standard, it was time consuming to operate, with 132 individual grid switches used to control the metal halide discharge lamps, many of which were positioned 10 metres high in the rafters.

In addition, the switches were freely accessible to the public and subject to high levels of usage, which meant the lamps failed regularly and were often replaced with a mixture of different types, damaging the intended lighting affect.

Gradus Lighting proposed a programme of simple but effective improvements to the original scheme. These included replacing and standardising the metal halide lamps, as well as highlighting specific features through the installation of extra light fittings, including spotlights on the altar’s cross and Bishop’s throne. Other recommendations were also put forward that may be implemented at a later stage.

A password protected switching solution was installed, featuring just 10 pushbuttons to create different scenes and combinations of lights for mass, baptisms, weddings and funerals. Plus, a master switch was fitted in the Vestry to provide sufficient lighting to reach the new control panel.

The result is a cost effective lighting scheme that was quickly delivered and installed, and which is easier to operate and maintain, as Father Michael Brown explains:

“Gradus had a very short time frame to put together and implement their proposal as when we started the refurbishment, we only had four days to completion before Christmas. The solution proved to be cost effective to achieve and will hopefully reduce our maintenance costs in the future. It has certainly solved the problem we had with the public switching lights on and off in the Cathedral.”

Pugin was renowned for his lead role in the British and international Gothic revival. He asserted that Gothic architecture was the unique architectural expression of Christian values and that the physical language of the building should reinforce the religious language of Catholic practice in St Barnabas.

Father Brown adds: “I’d like to think that Pugin would be proud to see how modern technology can realise his vision of architecture reinforcing the religious experience in one of his most famous buildings.”

Commenting on the lighting refurbishment, Rory Marr of Gradus Lighting said: “This is a fine example of Gradus’ ability to provide complete lighting design solutions. Acting as consultants, we are able to devise customised schemes to suit the budgets, timescales and requirements of individual applications.”

Gradus Lighting is a two-part business offering specialist solutions for contract environments. A range of low voltage LED safety and decorative lighting systems is available, which is used extensively in leisure sector applications such as cinemas, casinos, nightclubs and cruise liners. Gradus also offers a lighting design solutions service, employing a wide spectrum of lighting solutions to create effects tailored to individual applications. For further information, contact Gradus Lighting on 01625 428922.

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