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046


DETAILS


One of the aims of the project at the V&A Museum of Childhood was to accentuate the expansive vaulted ceiling. The linear fixtures provide white downlight and coloured uplight, bringing out the ceiling above. The entire system is connected to a Pharos controller, which can select a particular colour or intensity, allowing the Museum to customise lighting for corporate events.


and developers to work with the architec- ture and the cladding design to incorporate lighting within the façade itself.” It’s in 1997 that Fordham joined DHA Design, founded in 1988 by David Hersey. Becoming Director in 2000, he feels at home in this London-based company, where most of the staff have been there as long as he has, if not longer. The company’s theatrical know-how came in handy when lighting popular attractions in Las Vegas, where buildings typically com- mand attention. DHA Design are well known for lighting the façades of the Bellagio hotel, as well as earlier Las Vegas projects such as the Buccaneer Bay pirate show in front of Treasure Island, and the erupting volcano outside the Mirage.


Though Fordham wasn’t involved in these particular projects, he was called upon to shape a similarly showy cityscape: Dubai. Hired to provide a scheme for the twin


Emirates Towers in 1997, Fordham heark- ened back to his days with Linbeck Rausch. “Fresh from my experience in Hong Kong, I looked for opportunities in the architec- ture where lighting could be concealed,” he says. “The architecture consists of two tall towers, each over 300 metres high. The elevations have a number of horizontal fins that wrap around one corner of each tower. I suggested incorporating a linear lighting source within each of these fins that could be addressed individually, so that you have this sort of stacking effect, using two col- ours of cold cathode, cool white and cyan, controlled on separate dimmer channels.” The effect extends the verticality of the towers, which, at the time, were the tallest in Dubai. Despite the competition today, the scheme still manages to withstand the test of time. “Taking advantage of the small size of the cold cathode source within the architectural details, the scheme creates a


unique identity for the buildings at night,” Fordham adds. “Its night-time presence was quite different from the impact the façades were having by day.” These days, Fordham’s projects have re- volved a lot around the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He recently completed a retrofit for the V&A Museum of Childhood, a lofty, expansive space dating back to the 19th century, marked by a very high vaulted ceiling.


“At the time, the lighting scheme in this triple-height space consisted of two parallel lines of suspended trunking, fitted with fluorescent battens attached to the under- side,” he explains. “It was rather harsh, it was inflexible, and it was very dated.” Fordham did more than update the system by converting it to LED; he also brought out the beautiful ceiling and all the details that were left in obscurity with the previous scheme. He achieved this with suspended


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