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Published:  14 June, 2007

Test article

To provide lighting that is as close to natural daylight as possible for the AirSpace exhibition at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, extensive use is made of Thorn Lighting’s Concavia high-bay luminaires using 400 W metal-halide elliptical lamps. There are 276 fittings in the main hangar.

Built at a cost of £25 million, the museum provides an inspirational display space for some of the world’s most impressive feats of engineering. The open area of 12 000 m2 accommodates nearly 30 classic British and Commonwealth aircraft. Exhibits range from the ‘string and wood’ of the very earliest machines through to the legendary Spitfire and Lancaster, the Vulcan and Concorde.

The lighting scheme for AirSpace was designed by Connell Mott MacDonald. As well as high lighting levels with low glare, consistency in colour of the lighting was of prime importance, as the aircraft colours had to be authentic.

Prismatic reflectors balance up, side and down lighting to illuminate the exhibits, walls and roof — thus creating visual interest in the wider space. The result is a more uplifting and stimulating atmosphere than would be provided by conventional high-bay fittings.

The surrounding galleries, which feature engines, period vehicles and interactive displays, are lit by rows of linear Modulight and Micropak fluorescent fittings.

The installation is controlled by a Trend building-management system