Lighting artwork is a challenge, as obtrusive fixtures can distract from how the subject looks. There’s an ideal solution to this, though, in the form of recessed art lighting. Recessed fixtures are in widespread use among art museums and galleries, and with the addition of LED technology, they offer more utility than ever. LED lighting is efficient, long lived and controllable, making it a perfect option for art displays designed to run day and night.
Why is recessed art lighting an ideal choice?
Recessed fixtures have been around for decades, surviving trend after trend. That’s because recessed lighting never goes out of style, and for good reason. Some of them include:
- Unobtrusive – Recessed art lighting is installed inside the ceiling, with only a flat cover plate and some trim showing through. To most observers, the setup might as well be invisible, because it sits well out of sight and isn’t competing with a beautifully illuminated piece of artwork. There’s no direct lighting or glare, and no unattractive fixture body hanging out of the ceiling. The result is a sophisticated look.
- Scalable – If a room features several pieces of artwork, it can be tough to keep them all lit without crowding the room with fixtures. With recessed art lighting, though, there’s never a crowd, and no matter how many fixtures are in the ceiling, the same streamlined look can be maintained.
- Easy to aim – Recessed lighting is designed to hit a small area with a lot of illumination, which makes it perfect for art display applications. Recessed fixtures can be precisely aimed at any desired subject, and some can be adjusted after installation to maintain a tight spot. Recessed technology, then, ensures that only the subject is illuminated, which makes for a more powerful display.
Why is LED the superior choice in recessed art lighting?
Recessed lighting brings several advantages to the table, and so does LED technology. LED lighting has only been commercially viable for a short time, but it’s already replacing older lighting options in many applications. That includes art display applications, where LED lighting offers a compelling alternative to halogen technology. Here’s why:
- LEDs are efficient – Compared to halogen technology, LED fixtures are about 90 percent more efficient. As art lighting is expected to operate most of the day (if not around the clock), the added efficiency is significant. If several halogen art fixtures are replaced with LED, it can bring noticeable savings.
- LEDs last a long time – Halogen fixtures have long been favored for their excellent color rendering, but it comes at a cost. Halogen only offers a few thousand hours of light before needing to be replaced. LED fixtures, though, can perform for 50,000 hours or more before they require replacement. It’s common for LEDs to last that long without the need for any maintenance, as the technology is durable. Fewer replacements also means lower operating costs.
- LEDs are safe to use – Artwork is sensitive to certain types of lighting, especially those that emit UV and infrared light. With time, this damaging radiation will cause paintings to fade and discolor, but it’s not a problem with LED technology. LEDs emit extremely minute amounts of UV, and far less than other lighting options. Since LEDs are so efficient with the power they receive, little is lost as heat. This means a safer bulb, for both artwork and people.
Packaging it all together
The best example of LED recessed art lighting is the optical framing projector, which is designed with art displays in mind. Optical framing projectors stand out for their minimal appearance and maximum visual impact, especially when they are fitted with high performance LED technology.
LED framing projectors are designed for use with any subject, no matter its size or shape. This is possible because optical projectors can be fitted with adjustable shutters or a cut metal template. The adjustable shutters are for square or rectangular artwork, and they can be tweaked on the fly to accommodate different subjects. Cut metal templates are designed for use with sculptures, installations and other uniquely-shaped artwork. The template is shaped to the subject’s dimensions, making for a one-of-a-kind fit.
If the subject is oversized or strongly horizontal or vertical, multiple optical framing projectors can be placed in tandem to cover the entire piece. The scalable, efficient nature of LED recessed art fixtures ensures this is feasible.
An added feature of LED art lighting is that it can be used in IC-rated designs, so it can be installed in direct contact with insulation without fear of causing a fire. This is valuable for modern homes that may have additional insulation for efficiency purposes.
LED recessed art lighting brings everything to an art display—beautiful aesthetics, precise light metering, a clean, unobtrusive look, excellent efficiency and a long-lived fixture. It’s the ultimate solution to art displays, powered by the ultimate in LED lighting technology.