Helvar lights up treasures
Helvar’s DIGIGIM control system is the driving force behind the lighting systems at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s new Contemporary and Islamic Middle East Galleries, helping illuminate exhibits dating from the 8th century right through to the latest in fashion, furniture and product design.
The DALI based ballast and lighting control system became a central part in the Islamic Gallery’s three year long renovation programme. Now open, the full collection of over 400 objects is on public display and, with delicate textiles, carpets and ceramics amongst the items, it was vital for lighting designer DHA Design to know that the artefacts could be illuminated without risk of damage. The intricate levels of control afforded by DIGIDIM, coupled with Helvar’s fully customisable wall-mounted LCD TouchPanel, ensured their safe display.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a 55m² Iranian carpet dating from around 1540. Housed in the main display case, the DIGIDIM control system allows the carpet to be illuminated only at certain times, to avoid light damage. The nature of the exhibits called for conservation grade lighting, where levels must be maintained at a maximum of 50 lux and reduced automatically when visitors are not present.
Demonstrating the versatility of the DIGIDIM control system, the surrounding exhibition cases and the public walkways of the galleries are lit with a mixture of fully adjustable, concealed internal and external lamps and fibre optics, alongside a number of downlighters which help to create a welcoming viewing environment, at the same time as offering the optimum display solution.
Due to the strict conservation lighting levels required, the project required a control system that was compact yet could handle multiple trigger inputs from a variety of occupancy sensors, as Desmond O’Donovan of DHA Design explains: “Helvar’s DIGIDIM system seemed to fit all of the project requirements. We were able to effectively prepare a control schematic that covered all of the requirements from security to environmental adjustment.”
Perfect for an application where a variety of control patterns were required, Helvar’s DIGIDIM control system supports a number of user interfaces and can be flexibly reprogrammed as the need arises. It also enables the control of different combinations of light sources – from fluorescent lamps to discharge and halogen lamps. The system’s modularity allows users to create a fully scaleable system for a range of applications – commercial or residential.