Built in 1371 originally as a Carthusian monastery, the Charterhouse is a complex of Tudor buildings in the heart of Smithfield, London. Originally a burial ground for plague victims, the site has housed a priory, a Tudor mansion and was the original location of the Charterhouse School. In 1611 the site also became an Alms house, which remains today and is the home of a community of 40 people.
In January 2017 a new museum opened at the Charterhouse. Developed with the Museum of London, Revealing the Charterhouse sets out to present the fascinating history of this remarkable place.
The project consists of a small museum space, a new external entrance and public reception areas, as well as a brand new learning space. The project also extends beyond to include the public Charterhouse Square on which the site is located.
Graham Festenstein Lighting Design (GFLD) was the Lighting Consultant for the whole project and worked on the design for both the exhibition and public spaces. The lead designer for the public spaces was Eric Parry Architects and GFLD worked closely with them to develop lighting, in particular within the entrance courtyard, reception and learning room.
The design intent in these areas was for a contemporary clean and simple intervention whilst remaining sympathetic to the historic environment. Working with Architainment, GFLD produced designs for two key elements of these spaces using solutions from LED Linear.
Firstly at the external entrance, VarioLED Flex Hydra LD5 W825 IP67 provides ankle level illumination, which leads the way through the Chapel courtyard to the entrance door, thereby avoiding the installation of obvious or obtrusive luminaires.
Secondly, in the reception and learning spaces, VarioLED Flex Hydra HD15 W830 is integrated within a specially designed coffer. Eric Parry Architects designed these bold features with reference to the Tudor ceiling in the Great Chamber; and in the reception in particular they proved an interesting lighting design challenge, as the depth of the ceiling is quite shallow.
Architainment worked closely with the installer to ensure the custom luminaires were easy to integrate within the listed structure of the building.
The outcome of both of these elements was very successful, and both client and visitors to the Charterhouse have met the whole project extremely positively.