Geckos in Southwark Cathedral
Thursday, 17 May 2001
London's Southwark Cathedral has been described as Shakespeare's church, where clerics and commoners alike congregated amongst the infamous bear baiting pits, brothels and theatres in the surrounding area. However, having been immersed, and to a degree obscured, by a network of roads, railways and warehouses for the past 100 years, the glory of Southwark Cathedral has now been reinstated. On Saturday 28 April hundreds of people turned out to see former South African president Neslon Mandela re-open the cathedral, as the culmination of a restoration and building programme. Southwark Church, previously a monastery, became Southwark Cathedral in 1905 and now, nearly a century on, an interior exhibition linking the building's past with its present takes visitors on a remarkable journey through time. Myriad Productions Ltd was commissioned to research, curate, design and install the exhibition and, as part of the presentation of the history of both the cathedral and its parish, Myriad called upon DHA Lighting to instill a modern feel with the company's Gecko image projector.

"We wanted the dramatic look of theatre lighting but without using conventional theatre lanterns. The light had to be bright and easily integrated into the design - apparent but minimal. We wanted people to admire the effect rather than the product, but without the effect being too heavy", commented Clare Chance, exhibition designer and creative designer at Myriad. Projecting the words "Southwark Cathedral, the Long View of London" through a lighting template in the entrance hall, as well as using colour filters to project textured light onto exhibition panels and illuminating display panels, the five DHA Geckos are stylishly inconspicuous. "The project is part of a revival of the south bank, London's historic pleasure district. DHA's Gecko forms a major part of the lighting scheme without affecting the structure of the building, making good use of the available space and avoiding the need for a reinforced framework," added Clare. "We did look at competitive products but they were huge and gave the same effect. The DHA Gecko is a cost-effective way to achieve a theatre lighting effect in an architectural context and the fact that it's silent as well as cool-running adds to its benefits."

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