Announcement: Mark Sutton-Vane becomes a Fellow of the Society of Light and Lighting

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We are very proud to announce that Mark has become a Fellow of the Society of Light and Lighting (SLL).

It is a great honour to have Mark’s work and expertise recognised as making a significant contribution to the world of light and lighting.

The SLL consists of people concerned with all things connected to light and lighting. From lighting designers, consulting engineers, and researchers to students and academics, as well as manufacturers and suppliers. The SLL is recognised worldwide as an authority on lighting and its applications.

The Society of Light and Lighting is part of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

How light reveals architecture - Mark at SHARE 2019 in Tirana

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Next in the series of SHARE2019 conferences is the beautiful Albanian capital Tirana. Mark will be delivering his 'Light reveals the Architecture' talk there tomorrow. 

About SHARE Tirana 2019:

“International speakers from countries like Albania, Kosovo, Slovenia, Greece, Netherlands, Turkey, United Kingdom, Germany and Romania confirmed their presence to SHARE Tirana 2019.

We expect a big number of architects, landscape architects, designers, lighting designers, engineers, urbanists, real estate developers and from public institutions, architecture, and design students, companies with innovative solutions in the construction field, other professionals related to architecture field.

Highlights for SHARE Tirana 2018: + 270 attendees from Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo; 29 speakers from 10 countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Italy, Belgium, Romania, Kosovo, Iran, Macedonia, the Netherlands. SHARE Tirana 2019 had as special guest architects Maurizio Meossi, Senior Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects, UK and great speaker architect Xander Vermeulen WINDSANT – Director of XVW Architectuur, the winner of the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture, the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017.

This edition of SHARE Tirana 2019 will have 3 panels: Tirana Tomorrow – Large Scale Projects, Facades, and Special Guest lecture.”

Read more about the SHARE series.

Lighting The National Museum of Oman

Experience UK focuses on the global ‘experience economy’ which involved the creation and operation of visitor attractions. Part of the Department for International Trade, Experience UK helps increase companies international profiles and links companies to potential global opportunities and funding.

Sutton Vane Associates work abroad a lot, from Egypt, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, China to name a few, so we are always delighted to share our experiences of our work in the international community with others. Mark was asked to write an article about our work on the National Museum of Oman (for which we wont the Light Middle East Award!) for the Experience UK website:

The facade of the National Museum of Oman, for which we designed the lighting scheme.

The facade of the National Museum of Oman, for which we designed the lighting scheme.

The National Museum of Oman is a flagship cultural project for the Sultanate of Oman. So the lighting had to reflect and celebrate the importance of this project. The new museum has been built in Old Muscat, opposite the Sultan’s Al Alam Palace. The wonderful artifacts in the museum and the architecture had to be shown off to celebrate the remarkable history and importance of Oman. London based lighting designers Sutton Vane Associates were commissioned to design all the lighting of the museum: All galleries, temporary exhibition spaces, lecture theatres, offices, the shop and supporting areas like cloakrooms and circulation areas and even the outside of the building and the surrounding landscape.

One of Sutton Vane Associate’s first tasks was to carry out studies to assess how much of the bright Omani sunlight could be allowed into the galleries. Many visitors arrive at the main car park in sunlight. Working with the architects, the lighting challenge was to design a route into the museum which gently lowers the light levels for the visitors to allow their eyes to get gradually adapted to the low light levels that have to be used inside the museum to prevent the valuable exhibits from fading. So the visitors pass through a series of spaces, first an arcade, then a glazed entrance area, then the reception hall each of which has gradually less sunlight and daylight. The visitors do not notice that they are getting gently accustomed to decreasing light levels, so when they reach the first gallery they are happy with the lower light levels.

Mark Sutton Vane in the National Museum of Oman focusing the lights for one of the exhibits.

Mark Sutton Vane in the National Museum of Oman focusing the lights for one of the exhibits.

The design of the museum mixes traditional Arabic decorative themes with a modern architectural design language. In the circulation spaces there are specially designed decorative lanterns which create hidden functional lighting as well as glowing and showing off their decorations. Some of the lanterns are enormous – the four lanterns in the reception hall are 3 metres high.

In the first main gallery are the tallest show cases in the world. Adjusting and setting the lighting in these dramatic cases needed a very tall ladder, not something that is normally needed in museum showcases.

The museum has seventeen galleries and many have deliberately different styles and atmospheres. One of the galleries is a full size reconstruction of a decorated round historic fort interior. The lighting is designed to be as hidden as possible so that the visitors feel they are in the original fort. The lighting deliberately emphasises the relief of the decorations around the central drum. As with all galleries, the lighting sets up a hierarchy of importance. The artefacts are the most important objects so they have the best lighting. The fort surfaces are the next most important story to be told, so they are lit to a lower level. The floor is stone, like the original, and helps create the historic atmosphere, so it is lit more than the floors in other galleries.

In another gallery a large highly decorated panel is mounted on a back-lit alabaster panel. During the day the alabaster is lit by daylight. This is ecological and provides a visual, changing connection with the outside world. At night, artificial lighting fades up to keep the alabaster glowing.

The main front of the museum faces the Sultan’s Royal Al Alam Palace. As it is in view of the Palace, the lighting would only receive permission from the Royal Court if it was suitably dignified. So a lighting scheme was designed that celebrates the restrained themes of the architecture of this facade. There are lanterns in the arcades around the museum and they have decorative grilles to create Omani themed shadows on the ground.

At the rear of the building, high on a rocky mountain, is a historic fort. Both the fort and parts of the mountain are gently lit to link this part of the nation’s history visually down to the museum.

Sutton Vane Associates have designed the lighting of many museums, galleries, leisure attractions and educational facilities all over the world. They work with both modern and historic buildings. They designed the lighting for the London 2012 Olympic Park.

The National Museum of Oman by Sutton Vane Associates was the winner of the Light Middle East Awards.


Mark speaking at SHARE Skopje - Light reveals architecture

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Mark has been invited to speak at the SHARE Forum, a networking event for the construction-related fields in Central and Eastern Europe. It brings together principal and senior architects from leading practices to discuss about their recently awarded projects from the greatest architectural competitions worldwide.

Last year (2018) Mark spoke at SHARE events in Bucharest, Budapest, Warsaw and Athens. Today he is speaking at SHARE in Skopje, Macedonia's beautiful capital city. He will be speaking at SHARE in Tirana, Albania, on 28 February 2019.

Read more about SHARE in Skopje.

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Voice & Vote - Women's place in Parliament

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2018 marks 100 years since Parliament passed the 1918 Representation of the People Act, allowing some women, and all men, to vote for the first time. 'Voice & Vote' highlights the campaign for votes for women and the representation of women in the House of Commons and House of Lords.

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Sutton Vane Associates were honoured to be asked to light this poignant exhibition at the Houses of Parliament. The exhibition comprises of many previously unseen historic objects, photographs and letters, as well as immersive spaces to help bring to life the experience of woman throughout the history of the Palace of Westminster. 

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As well as the displays and objects, we also lit the immersive spaces which came with their own challenges and creative opportunities: A loft space above the House of Commons Chamber which provided the only opportunity for women to listen to Parliamentary debates, a Ladies’ Gallery installed in the new House of Commons which was closed off by brass grilles to stop MPs seeing the women, and a broom cupboard where a suffragette hid herself to be recorded on that year's census as living at the House of Commons, just to name a few.

Immersive and interactive - Pick up the phone by this desk which was lit by Sutton Vane Associates and find out more about what it was like to be a woman in the Houses of Parliament 100 years ago.

Immersive and interactive - Pick up the phone by this desk which was lit by Sutton Vane Associates and find out more about what it was like to be a woman in the Houses of Parliament 100 years ago.

On the exhibitions' opening night we met the great-grandson and great-granddaughter of one of the suffragettes who fought hard to secure votes for women, Alice Hawkins. They had a fascinating story to tell about their great-grandmother and they have many invaluable memorabilia of Alice's time as a suffragette. Find out more about Alice's story: Alice Hawkins Suffragette - A Sister of Freedom.

We highly recommend going to see this exhibition, which will be running until 06 October 2018 and is free to visit (but do book a ticket to avoid disappointment). More information: Voice & Vote: Women's Place in Parliament exhibition.

Mark to talk at V&A Lunchtime Lecture

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Lunchtime Lecture: The Art of Museum Lighting

Wednesday, 7 February 2018
13.00 – 13.45
The Hochhauser Auditorium at the V&A Museum
Free event

Join Mark Sutton Vane at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 07 February 2018 as he discusses how light can enhance the experience of museum visitors and help tell the stories being presented, whilst being mindful of the need to protect sensitive artifacts from over exposure. Mark will draw on his experiences designing lighting for many high profile projects including the Crown Jewels, the Olympic Park, the Magna Carta and the V&A European Galleries.

We hope to see you there!

More information: V&A Lunchtime lecture.

A bright future for Leighton Buzzard's High Street

An example of up-lighting trees - an idea we have put forward as part of our lighting scheme for Leighton Buzzard's High Street.

An example of up-lighting trees - an idea we have put forward as part of our lighting scheme for Leighton Buzzard's High Street.

We are thrilled that the members of the Leighton Buzzard Cultural & Economic Services Committee have agreed in principle to endorse the Sutton Vane Associates' illumination plan for the High Street.

The idea of lighting the High Street comes at a time when it is "moving away from just bars and clubs and switching to fine dining and nice bars and cafes". The council and local business owners want the area to be a space "where people feel in a safe environment in a nice town centre," says Gennaro Borrelli, chairman of local independent traders’ group LB First.

We are looking forward to starting this project and being part of the revival of Leighton Buzzard's town centre.

Read more about our lighting scheme proposal on the Leighton Buzzard Observer's website: Will this bright idea attract more visitors to Leighton Buzzard?

Mark's light concealment masterclass at LuxLive 2017

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Mark will be giving a masterclass on concealment - 'Light without luminaires' - in the Lightspace Arena at LuxLive 2017, London ExCeL:

"The integration of both daylight and artificial light into a seamless whole is the holy grail of lighting design. In this special presentation, we look at the best techniques for fusing light into spaces with outstanding examples from recent years."

Examples from the Sutton Vane Associates portfolio will include our lighting design at York Minster (winner of Lighting Design Awards 2017 - Heritage Project of the Year) and the National Museum of Oman (winner of Light Middle East Awards 2017 - Public Lighting Project of the Year).

When: Wednesday 15 November 2017
Where: The lightspace.london arena, LuxLive 2017, ExCeL, London
What time: 10:00 - 10:30 am

How to find the Lightspace Arena

This handy floorplan of LuxLive 2017 will help you find Mark at 10:00 am on Wednesday 15 November. The LightSpace Arena is next to the Osram Cafe and the Lumen Cafe.

How to register

Create an account and register for LuxLive 2017 for free entry.

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Light Middle East Awards

An incredibly exciting night at the Light Middle East Awards yesterday in Dubai. Sutton Vane Assiciates was nominated for the Public Lighting Project of the Year for our lighting design at the National Museum of Oman, and we are thrilled to be able to announce that we won!

Mark receiving the Public Lighting Project of the Year award last nights at the Light Middle East Awards 2017 in Dubai.

Mark receiving the Public Lighting Project of the Year award last nights at the Light Middle East Awards 2017 in Dubai.

Our award which was presented to Sutton Vane Associates for the lighting design at the National Museum of Oman.

Our award which was presented to Sutton Vane Associates for the lighting design at the National Museum of Oman.

The National Museum of Oman is a new building in Old Muscat, Oman. Sutton Vane Associates are responsible for the design of the lighting of all the galleries and all circulation and behind the scenes spaces, also the lighting of the exterior and the spaces round the building.