LEDs and Recessed Art Lighting: A Perfect Pairing

LED Art Lighting

LED recessed art lighting is powerful enough for sophisticated art displays, and compact enough to remain unobtrusive. Recessed lighting, in the form of framing projectors, is already the pinnacle of art illumination, and with modern LED lighting technology, it’s even more effective. Unsurprisingly, art collectors, galleries and museums, including the Smithsonian and the Sistine Chapel, are rapidly adopting the technology.

Sleek, But Not Meek

Contour framing projectors have traditionally been fitted with halogen sources for optimal color rendering and because they can be scaled down enough in size to fit in a ceiling. LED lighting has struggled with both in the past, but no longer. Lighting engineers have developed LED fixtures to the point where they can be integrated into compact fixture designs. Further, LED recessed art lighting can achieve the coveted 90+ rating on the color rendering index, or CRI.

If designed and installed properly, a contour framing projector is practically invisible, even during operation. A compact housing design makes this possible, so LED contour projectors can now offer the same low visibility design that property owners and venues look for. This improves the display’s appearance and keeps the space from feeling cluttered with high-end lighting.

This compact design, though, doesn’t require a sacrifice in power. In fact, some LED recessed art lighting leverages high performance LEDs, like the Cree XHP series. Cree’s XHP lights are among the brightest LEDs on the market, if not the brightest. According to the company, its XHP lights can throw 284 lumens per square millimeter, which is one of the highest marks in the industry. This brilliance is perfect for art displays, where better lighting means better subject rendering.

Safe in Any Setting

A concern some property owners have with recessed lighting is their safety. Do they represent a fire hazard given their proximity to ceiling insulation and other heat-sensitive materials?

Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about safety with many LED contour projectors, for two reasons:

  1. Some projectors are insulation contact, or IC, rated – It is true that some recessed lighting must be separated from nearby insulation. This is not required for IC-rated projectors, though, as they do not emit enough heat to produce a fire hazard. In fact, an IC-rated projector is so safe that it can be blanketed with insulation without fear of fire.
  2. LED lights emit close to zero forward heat – LED fixtures are far more efficient than halogen, incandescent and all other forms of lighting. This elite efficiency minimizes waste heat, so LED fixtures will not transmit heat into nearby materials.

Preserve Your Collection

Delicate art is adversely affected by heat and UV radiation, both of which are products of most forms of lighting technology. Museums and galleries take great pains to keep their irreplaceable subjects safe from both, sometimes by limiting how much light the subject is exposed to.

LED lighting does not generate significant heat, so it’s safe for the building, safe for its occupants and safe for any artwork. Further, LED fixtures emit minimal UV radiation, so they can be targeted at the subject for longer, without aging it as quickly. This has been a major draw for museums and galleries, as LED lighting is helping them preserve their valuable exhibits.

Flexibility in Design

Contour projectors can be built into one of several housings, depending on where they are going and how they will be used. Phantom’s LED recessed art lighting, for example, can be integrated into one of four housings, each one IC-rated. Those housing options include:

  1. The Float Finish, or FFL, model – The FFL model is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, producing a zero sightline appearance. This is achieved with a two-part cover plate design, with one part overlapping ceiling material and creating the smooth look the FFL is prized for. The center of the cover plate can be removed for bottom access.
  2. The New Construction, or NCL, model – The NCL model is built for challenging installations, as it can work with most rafter layouts. It comes with fixture bars for sturdy mounting and comes with a removable cover plate and glare shield.
  3. The Remodeler Housing, or RML, model – The RML model is intended for existing ceilings and it does not damage the ceiling during installation. It comes with a set of custom mounting clips for easy installation, and the RML projector can be placed in ceilings up to 2 inches thick. It also comes with a removable cover plate and glare shield.
  4. The Top Access, or TAL, model – The TAL housing is for buildings where bottom access is not available, or for experienced installers that will only be using custom cut brass templates. The TAL projector is built with a bottom heat shield and fixture bars for versatile installation options. An oval trim ring and adjustable glare shield keeps the TAL hidden from view.

LED recessed art lighting takes the proven framing projector and enhances it with LED technology. The result is a reliable, indiscreet fixture that can breathe new life into any subject.

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