Flexible LED Strips for Art Lighting in Bishop’s Palace House in Kingston upon Thames

LED luminaire installation on Kingston upon Thames. (All photos courtesy of Osram)

Project summary

The new owners of Bishop's Palace House Canadian & Portland Estates planned its transformation into an exciting new retail and leisure destination. One of the main topics in this project: to showcase the work of a famous local artist, Eadward Muybridge to breathe new life into the site with eye-catching design and a visually identifiable focal point with cutting-edge LED technology.

Project description

Bishop’s Palace House lies in a prominent location on the northern edge of Kingston upon Thames’ Old Town Conservation Area on the bank of the river, next to the town’s Grade II listed bridge. By 2007, the 1970s-built structure and acre site were looking tired and the stretch of land along the Thames itself lay underutilised and difficult to access. At night, with sparse lighting, the site represented an uninviting space by the river.

The site’s new owner Canadian & Portland Estates planned its transformation into an exciting new retail and leisure destination, known as the ‘Riverside Walk’. Architect Jim Reed at Haworth Tompkins, along with building environment and services engineering firm Skelly and Couch and OSRAM, picked up the reins of the ambitious project. To ensure this the new LED lighting should showcases the work of a famous local artist, Eadward Muybridge to breathe new life into the site with eye-catching design and a visually identifiable focal point.

Osram lighting installation seen up close.

The implementation

Three years of design work and a painstaking forensic examination of the existing building revealed clever ways of phasing huge improvements to the building work. The local council granted planning permission in 2010 and the first phase of £3 million construction work began in February 2013.  One of Kingston’s most famous residents, Eadweard Muybridge, who was born and died in the town, pioneered photographic studies of motion. He produced striking images of a walking figures - including the female example used in the Riverside Walk project.

In this project the team should create a light installation using OSRAM LEDs that celebrated the work of Muybridge to make a significant statement on this landmark site. Lighting designer Steve White explains: “We perforated 106 2.4-metre-high metal sheets to recreate the images in a life-size, photo-quality dot matrix of Muybridge’s original photographs. Then we needed to find the optimum lighting solution to back-light them.”

White wanted the artwork’s lighting to complement the artwork and, of course, be weatherproof. “I had worked with OSRAM before and I associate quality products with the company,” he says. “We evaluated alternative lighting solutions from other providers and OSRAM’s LINEARlight Flex Protect was our final choice based on quality and cost. The benefits were immediate as the LEDs were of such high quality and sustainability, we only needed to order half the number we originally specified.”

LEDs illuminate Muybridge images metal panels from a 45 degree angle to give this impressive effect. 

The result

The dimmable LINEARlight Flex Protect remains off during the day so Muybridge’s images appear less obvious. As the sun sets, the LEDs illuminate the metal panels from behind at a 45 degree angle, showcasing the artwork while avoiding direct glare. The team set a constant white-light lumen level following consultation with the local authority regarding consideration for house boats in the area and a protected local bat population.

“With OSRAM, there is the added reassurance of comprehensive pre-contract and after-sales support, including samples for the structural mock-up in the planning stage,” says Mr White. OSRAM has been a safe pair of hands, sharing goal of making the site more attractive to businesses and their customers.”

Architect Jin Reed adds: “Every detail of this project, including the OSRAM LEDs behind Muybridge’s striking photographs, has been carefully considered to contribute to the success of the Riverside Walk development and complement Kingston’s growing reputation as a major retail and leisure destination.”

Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom, Europe, 2014

Application area:   Architectural

Sub-application:   Art

Technology:   LED, LED Modules

Project participants



Architect Jin Reed/Haworth Tompkins

Lighting designer Steve White/Skelly & Couch

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