Penn Elcom has supplied around 250 metres of Osram Linearlight Flex short pitch power flex LED tape as part of a new, greener and more efficient lighting scheme for one of the UK’s most iconic university library buildings, The Radcliffe Camera in Oxford.
The striking neoclassical circular landmark, now Grade I listed, was designed by James Gibbs and constructed between 1737 and 1748 to house the Radcliffe Library (as it was known until 1860). It was funded from the estate of Dr John Radcliffe (1650–1714), arguably the most successful English physician of his day, who left his trustees a large sum of money with which to purchase both the land for the new building … and an endowment to pay a librarian and purchase books. It was officially opened on April 1749.
Much more recently, Richard Francis of Oxford based electrical contractors Monard Electrical was asked to work on the installation of a new lighting scheme for the library’s ground floor to replace the old fluorescents. This was designed by Rob Gregg with assistance from CBG Consultants … and together he and Richard assessed a series of potential products before deciding on the Osram tape with warm-white LEDs and a colour temperature of 3000K.
Richard, who has worked on several other major installations for the University, has developed an excellent working relationship with Penn’s specialist architectural lighting team in Hastings over the last two years, so he also discussed everything in depth with Penn’s Razvan Vasiliu.
The Linearlight Flex tape was selected as the best solution due its long warranty and lifespan of 50,000 hours.
It was also chosen for the quality of the light output, and because it was flexible and discreet to install, and once in place, sensitive to the internal architecture – a big consideration in any listed environment where the stipulations about what can and can’t be done are specific and stringent.
The flex is encased in Penn’s elegant Comus aluminium profiles which further protects and extends the lifespan of the LEDs.
The ground floor library features a series of eight pedimented projections alternated with niches with the central floor divided into bays by coupled Corinthian columns.
The Flex is positioned around the stone cornicing in the roof and the tops of the columns as well as edges of the ground floor balconies, also illuminating the domed ceilings in the process with the benefit of the light bouncing back down into the reading spaces.
It has also been retro-fitted into the desk reading lights which are also listed. There are 30 desks residing in each of the eight seating areas, each light is approximately 400mm wide and emits plenty of lumens for comfortable near-field reading.
All the tape is driven by Osram drivers - OT20, OT75 and OT120s - and currently it is switched rather than dimmed as the 3000 degree colour temperature is optimum – although the product does also have the capacity to be dimmed!
The warm white LEDs were also selected from the same bin for complete continuity. One of the many details that Razvan ensured was that the bin numbers were specified, so if additional materials are needed in the future, they can get the exact match.
From an installation point of view, Francis emphasises that the five year guarantee is a big bonus.
In addition to all this, the relationship with Penn and the enthusiasm and knowledge of Razvan as an account handler and his commitment to both the product and the project all made a difference. “He made sure that everything ran smoothly and was very easy, straightforward and efficient” states Richard.
The new lighting scheme has resulted in a dramatic 10-fold increase in the lux levels for anyone using the library space. The running costs of LED as opposed to the old fluorescents have plummeted … and it also highlights the aesthetics of the building beautifully.
Razvan states, “It has been a pleasure to be involved in such a prestigious project, and it all flowed extremely smoothly thanks to the passion invested by Richard and all the Monard staff.
“We are very happy that Osram LED LinearLight flex and drivers were chosen, products offering a reliable, long term maintenance free solution. The overall lighting scheme is cost effective and energy efficient and will enhance the architecture and activities in this an iconic location for everyone’s benefit for years to come”.
Photos by Louise Stickland