Heritage lighting in practice

Perth, 10th December 2014

Today I presented a paper on the challenges of lighting heritage buildings, an event sponsored by Heritage Perth and the Town Planning Group (TPG) under the banner of Heritage in Practice where experts from various backgrounds share their conservation skills and techniques to the public in small scale seminars. Today’s event had lighting as the main topic. I decided to review my more than thirty years of project experience and pick out projects along the way that had specific heritage challenges and relevance. My heritage lighting experience really started back in the nineties with the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore, one of the 3 hotels build by the Sarkies brothers, I had the opportunity to light up. Besides the Raffles Hotel in Singapore I also designed the lighting for the Majapahit Hotel in Surabaya, Indonesia and the E&O Hotel in Penang Malaysia. The main challenges in these hotels were to reconstitute period like lighting but with modern lighting technology. We did not have LED technology at the time so it was an even bigger challenge using compact fluorescent lighting then the energy saving technology of choice.

Specifically the heritage projects in Australia (compared to Asia) are subject to very stringent guidelines in protection of the architectural fabric of the buildings. Cabling and fixing to the building fabric is practically not allowed and hence alternative ways for power provision and installation have to be found. Creative design solutions making use of what is possible and available as compared as what you would like to do in the ideal world form the basic challenge for the lighting designer, but one that is exciting and rewarding in the end. One by one I have enjoyed all my heritage projects and seeing them come alive in “new” light has been a great reward for the tireless efforts put in to make it work. Preserving our heritage is important and lighting design can certainly contribute to its enjoyment well after sunset.

Light Watch 5-210: It is always interesting to take a trip down memory lane and look at time gone by. In my research for history in these projects I came across some interesting pictures. See here some from the past and the present; Raffles Hotel (2), Majapahit Hotel, Old Perth Boys School, St Bartholomews Chapel in East Perth, His Majesty’s Theatre and the Palace Hotel as well as a snapshot of the event.


raffles_hotel_singapore cc


photo 5 (6)

Majapahit Hotel:

hotel oranye6


Old Perth Boys School
2013-07-19 Church3_resH12c
St Bartholomews Chapel

around 1940


His Majesty’s Theatre


Palace Hotel


The gathering tonight





10. December 2014 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: city beautification, Light and inspiration, light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting applications, lighting design | Leave a comment

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