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Lighting & Electrical

Imperial War Museum North, Salford Quays


The Imperial War Museum North is now illuminated at night, enhancing its status as an architectural landmark in Salford Quays. The lighting for the iconic building’s exterior has been supplied by Sill Lighting UK, a leading manufacturer of high performance and energy efficient luminaires.

The multi-award winning museum, the youngest of the Imperial War Museums’ (IWM) five branches, is the first UK building to be designed by the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. The design explores the concept of a world destroyed by conflict, which is represented in the architectural form of a shattered globe reassembled in three interlocking shards. The Sill luminaires give prominence to the striking aluminium-clad building, accentuating its sharp angles and drawing attention to its metallic surface.

sill2Across the water from the Imperial War Museum North (IWMN) is Media City, the new home of the BBC, which is also illuminated by Sill. Linked by a bridge across the Manchester City Canal the two developments are unified through their use of Sill luminaires and fittings. At IWMN, Sill’s 022 series 1000W parabolic projectors with customised pan and tilt brackets are mounted on Sill-designed 10 metre tubular columns that match those used at Media City. Six metre columns hold Sill 030 stripe projectors, which with the pan and tilt brackets project a strip of light at any angle, making them the ideal solution to lighting the angular elevation of the museum with the minimum of light-spill. These elevated projectors combine with Sill’s 485 series buried uplights to make the Imperial War Museum North a dramatically lit architectural backdrop for BBC news bulletins from Media City.

Lighting designer Des O’Donovan of DHA Design explains why Sill UK was specified: “DHA has worked with Sill for many years and we have used Sill products on some of our most successful projects. We were so impressed with the help that Sill provided, both technically and logistically, that they were the obvious choice for Imperial War Museum North”.

The lighting design successfully overcomes the reflective nature of the façade. A complex and challenging surface to light, the aluminium is now enhanced, making the museum visually arresting not only by day but throughout the night. The scheme has been carefully designed and implemented to ensure that only the elevation is illuminated, and the light sources face away from the residential and business areas on the north side of the canal, meaning a minimum amount of disruption for those in the area. Des O’Donovan said: “The Sill products used at the IWMN are compact and efficient which means they can be mounted relatively discreetly without compromising views of this iconic building. The range of accessories means glare is minimised and the high quality optics means that light is used efficiently”.

Sill’s considerable experience in lighting solutions for demanding architectural projects is combined with significant technical expertise in optics. This has enabled the prompt and efficient design, manufacture and delivery of customised luminaires and fittings for Imperial War Museum North. Des O’Donovan continued: “We are once again very happy with the help we received from Sill. It’s like dealing with a family-run business rather than a large multinational. Everyone at Sill UK seems to be dedicated to helping their customers”.

Sill Lighting is a market leader in developing high performance metal halide and LED projector systems that provide sustainable solutions to often complex lighting requirements. The company produces the highest quality in optics and thermal engineering using environmentally friendly materials and offers specifiers and users bespoke and adaptable lighting systems.