The iconic central London venue has a history stretching back to the 15th century, and has received a lighting overhaul courtesy of Richard Horley Lighting (RHL) and Tamlite Lighting.

For some specialist technology providers, the relationship with a client can last and evolve over many years. That has certainly proven to be the case with RHL and Drapers’ Hall, a multi-purpose events space situated in Throgmorton Street, London.

To suggest that Drapers’ Hall has a distinguished history would be a severe understatement. Originally established as a meeting place for the Drapers’ Guild in the 1420s, the first Drapers’ Hall was located in St. Swithin’s Lane. It moved to the present location, once occupied by Thomas Cromwell, in 1543. Repeatedly devastated by fires then subsequently rebuilt, Drapers’ Hall has continued to flourish despite these challenges, and today provides a majestic backdrop for banquets, corporate meetings and has regularly been used as a location for TV and film production.

History meets technology
The venue team has always sought to keep abreast of technological changes, and in 2001 RHL was engaged to install a new, fluorescent-based solution to handle uplighting requirements in the Livery Hall. More recently, RHL returned to the venue in response to requests for a brighter, but discreet uplighting solution for the balcony that more closely complemented the overall aesthetic.

“They wanted a brighter, safer light source, particularly with regard to the artwork contained within the plasterwork,” said Richard Horley, founder of RHL. “Having previously installed the Tamlite MICRO LED XL solution at the Tallow Chandlers’ Hall, also in central London, we soon concluded that this would provide the ideal solution at Drapers’ Hall too.”

The decision to use MICRO LED XL fittings was determined by a visit by the Drapers’ Committee to the Tallow Chandlers’ Hall. This visit meant that they could judge for themselves how the MICRO LED XL could provide appropriate lighting for the Hall, while maintaining subtlety.

Two-week window
Not surprisingly for such a busy venue, one of the biggest challenges for the project was always going to be identifying a timeframe in which to do the work, and a timeframe that resulted in as little disruption to daily activities as possible. Drapers’ Hall does have a shut-down period each summer, but RHL needed more time and space in order to complete the installation safely and efficiently. “For this installation we really wanted the Livery Hall to ourselves as we had to work at height around the whole circumference of the balcony that meant restricted access was required.” said Horley.

RHL was able to negotiate an uninterrupted two-week window for the lighting refit. Tamlite MICRO LED XLs were installed all around the balcony, with lighting fully dimmable and adjustable from a centralised control system. There is also the option for visiting lighting designers to take control of the system for larger events via a DMX desk.

The work was completed to schedule and, as Horley observed, the improvement in the quality and consistency of illumination was evident for all to see. “At balcony level the light output has gone up from 150 lux to 680 lux, so it’s a dramatic improvement,” he said. The aesthetically pleasing MICRO LED XL was able to provide customisation of the beam angles, giving more control to the designers at Drapers’ Hall.

The future’s bright
The extent to which the new LED lighting improves upon the previous fluorescents has been widely commented upon by staff and visitors, with Horley remarking that the client is delighted by the performance of the new system. “We knew it was the right solution after our positive experience at Tallow Chandlers’ Hall, and indeed it has brought the same improvement in brightness and overall quality to Drapers’ Hall too,” he said.

The relationship between RHL and Drapers’ Hall reaches back to 1999, “I am constantly reviewing all areas of the building with the team,” confirmed Horley, “and every year we look to upgrade or improve, always with an eye to reducing the running costs and maintenance requirements where possible.” The MICRO LED XL carries substantial long-term benefits, providing significant energy savings. The batten lasts for 100,000 hours, twice as long as other LED fittings, with a warranty of up to 8 years.

Achieving reductions in energy expenditure was not the only priority for the latest Drapers’ Hall project, as it was the subtlety and light distribution of the MICRO LED XL that was crucial to the overall atmosphere of the Hall. With UK manufacturing across two sites in Telford and Redditch and a technical design team, Tamlite was able to provide RHL with a swift full solution for Drapers’ Hall. The long-term nature of the Tamlite solution will ensure that the contemporary design will remain future-proofed for many years to come.