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Unique lighting system for a unique glasshouse: The Calyx, NSW

The Calyx project at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens has achieved unprecedented design flexibility and accuracy with an adjustable lighting track system, which is unique in the world of architectural exterior lighting.

As part of a major refurbishment project at the Ken Woolley-designed Arc glasshouse, which was completed in 1987, the Calyx is a semi-enclosed area featuring greenhouse-type climatic conditions. “It’s 30 degrees and 70 percent humidity inside, with sprinklers going off. You wouldn’t typically find that in an indoor lighting space,” according to Serge Janjic, NSW Sales Manager at Light Culture.

The reinvigorated Calyx houses a varying range of displays including: new innovative interpretation and horticulture displays; universal access and improved amenities; and an expanded formal education programme.

To accommodate the changing needs of the space, project lighting designer Benjamin Cisterne, who has a background in theatre and gallery illumination, was looking for a dynamic and flexible lighting solution that could be easily augmented and recommissioned in semi-outdoor conditions. The IP66-rated (dust and water jet tight) RAIL66 projector mounting system from WE-EF provided the optimum fit for the project brief as well as an energy efficient and precise lighting solution with unmatched flexibility. DALI-controlled FLC131 and FLC141 LED projector luminaires were installed on the RAIL66 throughout the glasshouse for accent lighting and in the gift shop for general lighting.

In addressing the challenges of the dynamic display space while maintaining adequate sealing of the projectors against humidity, a custom framing snoot was designed to manipulate the light beam distribution without having to open the luminaire. The customization became one of the key features of the project and highlighted the strength of the WE-EF engineering team in providing quick and reliable project solutions.

“We have a reputation for that already. The WE-EF engineering team could quickly come up with a custom framing snoot that allowed greater optic flexibility without compromising the integrity of the fitting. Unlike other lighting companies, WE-EF is keen on solving problems and creating bespoke solutions even if there aren’t many fittings involved,” commented Serge Janjic. He added that that the customized framing snoot added little to the overall lighting cost.

Serge is convinced that the lighting solution for the Calyx project is unique. While other manufacturers may offer exterior projectors with a range of optics, they cannot offer the structural elements included in the RAIL66 range.

“You’ll notice that in this project the projector luminaires sit on a track or a ‘lighting bar’. It is called RAIL66 because it’s an outdoor IP66-rated rail system. This structural element makes it easy for installers to add and remove luminaires along the track as well as individually control them,” he explained. “The overall project has been a great success and a great application of this particular lighting system”.