The AIC is going LED. After Lightswitch Architectural designed the lighting for the museum’s first all-LED gallery in late 2014, it partnered with AIC again to design the lighting for its forthcoming, redesigned medieval gallery. During the design process, Lightswitch Architectural and the museum found a groundbreaking, new LED solution to light the gallery. The digital, colour- tunable LED lamp will also be used to retrofit other gallery and exhibit spaces in the future.

To identify a lighting solution that would exceed the museum’s rigorous quality standards, Lightswitch Architectural conducted a series of mock-ups using a variety of LED replacement lamps to illuminate pieces from the collection and other artwork.

After an initial mock-up of religious paintings and medieval armor proved successful, a side-by-side mock-up that allowed the museum staff to compare its existing sources with its preferred LED option from the first trial was arranged. Lightswitch Architectural illuminated two paintings in Claude Monet’s Haystacks series with a combination of 10- and 25-deg PAR38 LED lamps from Ketra, Inc., while the others remained lit by incandescent PAR38 and MR16s. To ensure the ideal colour temperature and rendering were achieved—a must for fine art installations—Lightswitch Architectural colour tuned the wirelessly controlled Ketra sources to match the incandescents and then compared the CRI, illuminance levels and spectral power distribution of the sources.

Twenty AIC staff, including art curators, exhibit design staff, facilities staff, and the museum’s CEO and COO, analyzed the results and selected the LED option as the best solution for this gallery and other potential projects.

“We recognize the importance that quality lighting plays in maintaining the AIC’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost art museums. As a result, we treat the museum’s collections as if they were our own and undertook a careful, measured approach to lighting them. Through detailed research and in-depth testing, we found a colour-tunable, high-CRI LED source that will not only reduce AIC’s energy use and maintenance, but will also enable it showcase its art in the best possible light.” -Avraham Mor, partner of Lightswitch Architectural.