Best Lighting Solutions for
Best Lighting Solutions for
Lighting is an often underrated but extremely important element in the design and success of an art gallery. The right lighting will display artworks at their very best, provide a space in which artists want to exhibit their work, and create an ambience in which visitors want to linger, helping to make the gallery more profitable. Whether you want to create a bright and minimal space to display contemporary photography or a more intimate atmosphere for portrait paintings, lighting can help to establish a gallery’s brand and personality.
Designing the best lighting solution for an art gallery requires consideration of a number of factors, from the type and placement of fixtures to the quality of light. The best gallery lighting will enable visitors to fully appreciate the artworks, whether exquisite details in a watercolour, subtle nuances of colour, or or expressive brushstrokes on a canvas.
Whilst each gallery is unique, a recommended starting point for art gallery light is the installation of track lighting. Track lighting provides a system which is adaptable and versatile, allowing lighting to be updated and repositioned as exhibitions change. A track system involves two key elements - the track itself, and the fixtures which attach to it, known as track lighting heads.
When installing the track there is a choice for it to be surface-mounted, recessed or suspended. Surface-mounting track offers simple installation and is ideal for retrofitting, with track simply fixed directly to the ceiling surface. Recessing track into the ceiling can offer a cleaner, minimal look, but recessing track into the ceiling is more complex and isn’t possible with some ceiling materials (e.g. concrete). Finally, suspending track is a great option for high or vaulted ceilings, bringing the light down to the required level by suspending track on adjustable wires.
A typical recommendation is that the track should be placed at a distance of 1 metre from the wall. How you set out track will depend on the size and layout of your space, the amount of natural light available, and how the light changes throughout the day. You may find that one art gallery wall is flooded with natural light during the morning, but this is lost in the afternoon as the sun shifts.
Moving attention to the track fixtures, a standard approach is to use one track head per linear metre of track, although more can be added if required (always check with your electrician to make sure that you don’t overload the track). If exhibitions change, track heads can easily be moved and clipped into a new position without the need for any specialised installation and associated labour costs.
An ideal gallery picture light is one which is flexible, with an adjustable beam angle which can effectively frame the artwork. In addition to specific gallery lights for paintings you’ll need fixtures which can provide a general wash of light. Choosing dimmable fixtures will allow you to adjust the atmosphere and ambience, for example for evening openings or special events.
LEDs are the ideal choice for galleries, offering benefits such as exceptional energy efficiency and a long lifespan which reduces maintenance. They also offer the opportunity to fine-tune a lighting solution, controlling variables such as colour temperature and CRI.
The CRI or colour rendering index of light is particularly important in gallery spaces, as this refers to how a light source affects how colour is seen. A high CRI value means that the light will accurately represent (render) colour, which is why we recommend lights with a CRI value over 90 for galleries - a low CRI would mean that colours appear dull.
The colour temperature of light also has a significant impact on the feel and ambience of a space. A cool light, around 6000K (K standing for Kelvins) is similar to natural daylight. This is great for focus and concentration, but a warm light (around 3000K) creates a more relaxed atmosphere and may encourage visitors to linger.
Book a free consultation with our art gallery lighting specialist.
Banno Lighting is located in Brooklyn, NYC. We are a small family owned business who specialize in Art Gallery Lighting.
172 Suydam St Unit 4 R Brooklyn, New York, 11221