Horse drawn carriages and Model T Fords conveyed dignitaries to open this church. It was sparsely lit, used degraded electrical cables and under strict heritage constraints. Recently it had suffered two electrical fires and a lightning strike. The church is the dominant structure for and epi-centre of a large regional centre. Civic scrutiny swirled.

In pace with funding, it took five years, in multiple stages to do safe-passage, exterior, interior and back-of-house lighting. The potential to ruin the purity of our end vision was ever-present.

The 35-metre bell tower had one light source on the ground-floor. We spotted that heritage had approved a tiny hole in each floor to run a cable to ring the bells from ground level. We asked for the same to run a power cable. It was granted.

We designed fabricated shoring poles. The first rises 6.7 metres in three sections. The long single bell tower power cable is tied to and the ground floor ceiling luminaire is held by compression from, a high-tension cable in the poles that end on a winch in the bell tower!

The poles had to be short to thread through very narrow openings and light enough to be carried up very steep ladders. We also worked out how to thread the power cable and wire down and assemble disaggregated poles and loop out cable to power lights at each level. Complexity ruled until simplicity prevailed.

Every level of the bell tower had a unique configuration and required unique illumination. The power cable for the steeple luminaires thread via a bespoke arm tethered to a handrail and the luminaires are held in-place on the roof by lead weights.

Linear fluorescent ran mid-level through the Nave. We were only allowed to use these sub-optimal locations. Our Christian-inspired mounts extended as far out as we dared; LEDs back lit the high stained-glass windows and herringbone ceilings while illuminating pews below.

Other hand-crafted luminaires were designed to blend with the timbers in the entryways’ ceilings while hidden theatre lights illuminate a speaking dais, high and side altars and pulpit, aid live streaming and video production and create photography spots. Indirect lighting is used back-of-house. Everywhere we sought to create spiritual elegance.

Using all low-energy long-life quality LED, our solution is good for a decade. We have already received very positive local and international attention.

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