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Night Of Heritage Light 2017

For one night only, some of Oxford’s most beautiful buildings were lit up like never before.

In association with the Society of Light and Lighting, the Night of Heritage Light 2017 celebrated the art and science of light – with fun, creative designs lighting up some of the city’s most iconic sites:

  • Ashmolean Museum
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of the History of Science
  • Bodleian Library quad
  • Radcliffe Camera
  • Radcliffe Observatory
  • Radcliffe Humanities.

Experts in the field of lighting put their designs on display to demonstrate the power of light. Combining their love of light and art, design teams used their skills to enhance the stunning architecture and light up the night-time environment.

Monard assisted each team with the building knowledge, temporary supplies and installation of the luminaires. All luminaires were required to be installed so as not to damage the building and be safe for the public to be in close proximity.

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The Ashmolean – Proud to Play our Part in Oxford’s Remarkable History

The Ashmolean museum, at the University of Oxford, is the world’s oldest public museum and one of Europe’s most popular cultural tourist destinations. This is where you’ll find Oxford University’s legendary art and archaeology collection, visited by more than 850,000 people every year.

As you can imagine, the historic building needs constant care and attention to ensure it delivers the welcoming atmosphere the Ashmolean prides itself on, and meets the expectations of visitors. And this continuous refresh involves making sure essential lighting systems are man enough for the job.

The team at the museum has recently upgraded the lighting system in its gallery spaces and installed more than 1500 Concord Beacon Muse spotlights. When it came to redesigning the lighting scheme, the aesthetics and performance were equally important, as Harry Phythian-Adams, Executive Officer, Director’s Office at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, explains.

“We required a solution that provided the same lit effect as halogen but also delivered a better uniformity of light whilst bringing the vibrant colours in the galleries to life. Concord was able to adapt the Beacon Muse to meet our needs perfectly: it changed the colour temperature of the spotlight to 2700K warm white with colour rendering index of typical 97 and also provided us with a customised white bezel to better suit our interior décor.”

The project was instigated by Robert Gregg from Oxford University. The Ashmolean team worked with Concord to design the fittings, which were installed by Monard Electrical and commissioned by Ben Acton at Hoare Lea Lighting.

We installed Concord Beacon Muse spotlights at a high level within the space, positioning them in a way that reveals the forms and details of the diverse collection to perfection. The spotlights feature warm, high colour rendering LED bulbs, with the beam angle adjusted according to the effect required for each exhibit. As Harry Phythian-Adams says, “The lit effect of the Concord Beacon Muse is great but we are also impressed with the energy savings we have seen. Due to the unique design of the product, in addition to the LED energy savings compared to the previous Halogen lights, less heat is emitted and we have been able to reduce our air conditioning usage and save on our energy costs.”

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Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Lighting Refurbishment Project – Completed 2014

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History houses precious scientific collections of zoological, entomological and geological specimens, widely known for its amazing displays of fossils and dinosaurs. Among its most famous features are the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the dodo, and the swifts in the tower. The Museum itself is a Grade 1 listed building, renowned for its spectacular neo-Gothic architecture.

Monard was the main contractor for the main court's lighting refurbishment, responsible for a major upgrade of the existing perimeter lighting plus the installation of new architectural lighting for the newly-refurbished cast iron and glass roof.

We worked closely with Robert Gregg of University Estates Services and Zumtobel throughout the design process, as well as a joint project developing a system of unique bespoke magnetic mounts for fixing luminaries to the iron pillars, working closely with the Ashmolean Museum.

While the interior scaffolding was in place for work on the glass roof, the delicate cabling operation took place. Cables were sensitively placed so they wouldn’t interfere with the fabric of the building, while still providing enough power to illuminate the vast interior spaces.

Now the museum now has a state-of-the-art DALI lighting control system. It lets museum staff set different lighting according to the time of day, and for different events and exhibitions. The controls can be activated via mobile devices, making it effortless for staff to magically illuminate the museum at the swipe of a finger.

Photography: Redshift Photography

Praise for Monard’s work

Here’s what some of the people involved said about our involvement in the project.

“We could not have achieved this without the obvious commitment, passion and pride in the project displayed by the whole team, and I illustrate this with just one example – 4000 wiring terminations on the project and not a single, solitary loose connection or fault – extraordinary”

Robert Gregg, OUES Electrical Engineer

“I would like to express my gratitude for the professional way in which the Monard team managed and carried out this project. With Monard’s wealth of experience working in heritage environments, the team showed the sensitivity and awareness needed when working in a museum and a Grade 1 listed building.”

Professor Paul Smith, OUMNH Museum Director

“It was a pleasure to work with Monard in developing the innovative and creative lighting solution finally achieved in what is such a unique iconic building within Oxford. Working within a Grade 1 listed building with such a rich tapestry of history, has without doubt been an excellent experience and learning opportunity for all concerned. The final result would not have been possible if hadn’t been for the pride, passion and attention to detail shown by the entire Monard Team, hence the final result is second to none
and one for which they should all truly be proud”

Steve Downie LSC (Dipl.). Lighting Solutions Consultant, Zumtobel Lighting Limited

In the press

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The Ashmolean Museum Broadway

Refurbishment of a 17th Century property into a Museum – Completed 2013

Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum is the first public museum to open in Britain, respected for its focus on quality research and development and part of the University of Oxford. In 2010 the Ashmolean took the opportunity to work with Worcestershire County Council and other local stakeholders to transform the 17th century former coaching inn in the Cotswold village of Broadway, known as ‘Tudor House’, into a new Museum – The Ashmolean Museum Broadway.

The building itself underwent a major physical refurbishment to ensure every aspect met the highest museum standards. The work took several months and involved skilled contractors to install the new electrical and security systems, which had to meet national museum standards. Just like the Arts and Crafts Architect, C.E.Mallows, who carried out the last major refurbishment in 1908, we carefully maintained all of the building’s beautiful, fascinating listed features.

The historic house itself has its own history and stories, so the objects for display were chosen from the Ashmolean collections, expanding on the themes of the property itself and keeping a local Cotswolds relevance. The museum opened to the public in autumn 2013 and achieved the accolade of being the most significant cultural contribution to Worcestershire in a generation. You can see more here, on the museum’s website (link to )


Praise for Monard’s work

“With such a sensitive and important project, the Ashmolean knew it had to use a well trusted and experienced contractor to oversee the extensive refurbishment works. The building needed rewiring and a substantial security system upgrade in order to meet the National Indemnity Standards for museums. Monard can also claim to be the first company to install a fire alarm system into this property, which has an age of over almost 400 years!”

Victoria McGuinness, Ashmolean Museum Project Manager (2007-2014)


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The Ashmolean Museum Cast Gallery

Rewiring and relighting of galleries and storerooms – Completed 2010

In 2010 the Ashmolean Museum completed another stage in its transformation thanks to the opening of the Cast Gallery. This is one of the country’s biggest collections of plaster casts, taken from the monuments and sculptures of the ancient world. Now the Cast Gallery, once a separate building, is an integral part of the museum and has been completely redisplayed.

The Ashmolean cast collection began in 1884 and was displayed in its own purpose-built gallery in 1960. Until then visitors to the Cast Gallery had to leave the main museum building and go around to the back to get in, which was less than ideal for such an important collection. Now the gallery has been joined to the ground floor of the rest of the museum, and there’s a large break-through in the gallery’s external wall.

The project integrated the cast collection with those of the museum’s Ancient World Galleries, finally letting visitors see the sculptures of the ancient Mediterranean in their wider cultural and historical contexts. The collection is invaluable for teaching a range of subjects, vital for artists and for members of the public who, through these displays, enjoy access to sculpture from all over the world.

The refurbishment included gutting the original galleries, fixing the plaster walls and ceilings, sanding and sealing the beautiful parquet floors, major rewiring, installation of a security and fire detection system, plus gallery design and promenade relighting.

Praise for Monard’s work

“As a project on a tight budget, the Cast Gallery refurbishment had to be swift and accurate. The knowledge of Monard and the ability to work to the high standards of the University of Oxford meant that the project ran smoothly and was completed on time and on budget. The funding body was impressed with the results and has funded the Museum for other subsequent projects, which is essential for the Ashmolean to continue developing and refreshing its displays for its wide audiences.”

Victoria McGuinness – Ashmolean Museum Project Manager (2007-2014)

You can find out more in the media.

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Ashmolean Museum – Randolph Sculpture Lighting Upgrade

Randolph Sculpture Gallery lighting upgrade for Beard Construction – Completed 2012

Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum is the world’s first university museum, built from 1678–1683 to house the cabinet of curiosities given to the museum by Elias Ashmole in 1677. The museum reopened in 2009 after a major redevelopment and, in late 2011, new galleries focusing on treasures from Egypt and Nubia were unveiled.

The lighting upgrade was carried out in close collaboration with the museum. We installed new track lighting and architectural lighting, a Hoare Lea scheme involving clever track-mounted LED spotlights, including the Type X from Mike Stoane Lighting and the DR2 by Remote Controlled Lighting. The track we used coordinated sympathetically with the decorative ceiling cornice straps, and we developed special brackets for remote control lighting to ensure close coordination with the cornice straps and the track system. The resulting installation was both minimal and neat.


Praise for Monard’s work

“The Randolph Sculpture Gallery is one of the most iconic spaces in the Museum and is regularly used for a variety of different events and is particularly popular for weddings. We therefore needed a flexible scheme that provided both world-class lighting for the Arundel marbles during the day but was also appropriate for evening events. A great challenge which has been met by this remarkably flexible lighting scheme which enhances the architecture, highlights the collections and enables us to have wonderful evening events.”

Harry Phythian-Adams, Executive Officer


“The Ashmolean is delighted with the lighting scheme, the space shows the Ashmolean’s world renowned Arundel Marbles, which are now displayed in a gallery which is beautifully integrated into the Ashmolean’s new Ancient World floor.”

Professor Christopher Brown CBE, Director Ashmolean

“We were tasked with a general refurbishment of the Randolph Gallery with a completion deadline set in stone to accommodate an important function. The lighting and electrical works formed the major part of these works and were crucial to the success of the project. We worked in partnership with Monard, the Museum and consultants to develop and deliver the scheme ahead of time and to a high standard which the customer was delighted with. Monards were key to the success of this project and the approach of both
office and site staff was excellent. They were flexible & considerate on site in the difficult environment of working in a live museum and their technical input and advice to overcome design issues was a invaluable in achieving the overall success of the scheme.”

Nick Bradley, Beards Construction

You can find out more about the project here.

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