Reform Club

Bespoke lighting technology and solutions specialist Connected Light was enlisted to devise a new lighting specification for the space. This was never likely to be a straightforward project – as a Grade I building, the club is the subject of exacting conservation guidelines. But by collaborating over many months with both Historic England and Westminster City Council, the company was able to deliver a solution that both met heritage requirements and delivered on Capo Bianco’s vision.

“We worked closely with both organisations to meet their strict conservation guidelines and criteria to achieve listed building consent,” recalls Connected Light director Richard Ludlow, who is a heritage lighting expert of long-standing and who took the lead on this project. “In our final design, we have a series of multiple LED spotlights that cross-wash a total of 18 listed portraits, which lends a new level of illumination to these extraordinary paintings, and in doing so connects current members with the extraordinary history and legacy of their predecessors.”


The scale of the Grand Saloon project should not be underestimated, involving as it did the specialist cleaning and restoration of both the portraits and a series of vignettes by leading experts at the globally respected International Fine Art Conservation Studios (IFACS). But even at an early stage, Capo-Bianco was certain that modern “innovative” lighting had an integral role to play in lifting the look of a space that had become “rather dark, dismal and dirty.”

Not surprisingly given the nature of the building, Ludlow and his team were always cognisant that the solution would have to be highly discreet, with Historic England rules determining that light fittings must not intrude upon the architectural integrity of the building. Hence the end result combines fixtures concealed on ledge areas, along with strategically-placed units for both up- and down-lighting.

In what is a milestone installation in terms of Grade I listed interiors, Connected Light’s specification is based around a multiple-source, cross-wash solution that engenders the desired ‘three-dimensional’ look. Each of the fittings is the size of a thumb and is therefore very unobtrusive both individually and collectively. Utilising the DALI protocol, the LED luminaires are masterminded by a central, computer-based system that yields individual control of all light sources.

“Then through the use of a multiple scanner, the lighting can be programmed to change in real-time, thereby complementing the daily routine and usage of the building itself,” explains Ludlow. “This also allows the performance and energy usage of the system to be fully optimised – and in a space of this kind it is predicted that the reductions in energy bills will run into the many thousands over the next few years alone. In this way the client is enjoying greater and more thoughtfully designed illumination that is much more cost-efficient.”