The Mound is a prestigious and cultural area in the centre of Edinburgh, linking the Old Town with the New Town. The Mound is an artificial slope which was formed from the excavations of the foundations of The New Town into Nor Loch, which was drained in 1765 and today is the site of The Princes Street Gardens.
At the foot of The Mound are the West Princes Street Gardens and the Royal Scottish Academy of Art, the oldest and most prestigious academy of contemporary art in Scotland. Further up The Mound is the National Gallery of Scotland, home to Scotland’s greatest collection of European paintings and sculptures.
At the corner of Market Street is an 11-foot-high bronze statue in memorial to the Black Watch soldiers who were killed or wounded in the South African War of 1902. On Mound Place sits the Assembly Hall at New College, which was built in 1846. The Mound then meets Bank Street and runs along to the Royal Mile.
Facilities management company, Mitie, were appointed by Lloyds Banking Group to create a new, dynamic, colour-changing lighting design for the floodlighting on The Mound. Mitie appointed LITE for their full turnkey solution for the project, including the initial design scheme, the supply of products, installation, and commissioning. LITE worked with trusted partners Consulting Engineers IKM and Installation Partner SSUK to achieve the brief for this project.
LITE carried out the planning of the installation, including two separate lighting trials, supplied the light fixtures, and recommended several solutions from their market-leading portfolio of lighting brands.
Due to the historic nature of the building and its iconic location, a variety of challenges presented themselves to the team. As the building is listed, there were permissions which needed to be granted, so as part of the proposal LITE specified that they would not enter the building and would instead install the lighting solution on the outside of the building.
Other challenges included the effects of Covid-19, the weather, other projects occurring in the area at the same time, events and visits happening at The Mound, and finding the correct access equipment solution for installing the lighting fixtures.
The team created an ideal solution, using lighting trials to select the fixtures which would be placed along the balcony and floodlight the front of the building. Color Kinetics ColorBurst and ColorBurst Compact, ColorBlast, and ColorGraze Powercore RGBW products were selected to create a dynamic colour-changing lighting effect, controlled remotely by a Pharos LPC1 controller. The Pharos controller and cabling were installed on the roof of the building and the exterior, so the team would not have to enter the building for installation.
The result is an innovative and dynamic lighting solution which brings modern, colour-changing lighting to an area steeped in rich history and traditional architecture. The lighting brings The Mound to life and enhances its status as a hub of art and culture in Edinburgh, with the effect appearing particularly striking at night.
The end user can have complete control over the colour change to cast dynamic light shows to mark awareness days and annual occasions for the local public.
Kevin Evans, Solutions Director at Mitie, said: “When we received this project brief, we knew that LITE Architectural were the company to do the job. They are a trusted and reliable partner, and we knew that they would be able to deliver an innovative design solution, the kit and fixtures needed, a full installation and commission of the project, ensuring it met the brief. “What was most impressive was how LITE handled the challenges and factors which cropped up, completely out of their control, and faced each setback head-on to complete the project without compromising on design or quality.”
Emma Johnson, Sustainability Programme Manager at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “LITE exceeded our expectations upon commission of the project. We were delighted with the result, and The Mound is now one of the best lit buildings in Edinburgh!
Our Scottish HQ truly stands out for a striking, stunning effect that adds to the prestige and renowned location and history of the area. We were particularly pleased to light up The Mound in rainbow colours in support of Pride celebrations, and to show our solidarity with Ukraine on Ukrainian Day of Independence.”
This is not the first time LITE has provided lighting for an iconic building in Edinburgh, having previously transformed the existing lighting structures at Edinburgh Castle. Historic Scotland appointed LITE to upgrade the castle’s lighting system, using the existing wiring infrastructure and luminaire positions to eliminate any ground works on Castle Rock.
Philips Intelli Power technology met this requirement, allowing the existing 3 core cabling to transmit DMX Data to the new RGB ColorReach, ColorGraze and ColorBlast fittings. Using a Pharos LPC to control the lighting installation, the colour of the castle can now be changed with the touch of a button.
This has made the lighting scheme much more efficient, before requiring a team to put gels on all 120 fixtures. The LED installation has also reduced the overall carbon footprint, along with the maintenance and running costs.