TECHNICAL LIGHTING DESIGN – ST KEVIN’S CHURCH, TINAHELY, CO. WICKLOW
When we got a call from St Kevin’s Church Committee coordinator, Joe Hayden, our lighting design director Willie was called on to help transform an old church in Co. Wicklow to turn it from old and outdated to become a warm, atmospheric space for the local congregation.
Having been given the brief to ‘provide a church that would be prayerful, peaceful and to create a very special, spiritual place’ he was to focus on highlighting the lighting design around what St Kevin’s staff refer to as ‘The Gates to Heaven’. Seen above, these two beautifully designed stone slab doors behind the altar were commissioned from the internationally renowned artist Rick Lewis who happens to count Queen Elizabeth II as just one of the many admirers of his works.
These two centerpieces were made by Rick using various different types of stone such as granite & marble which were specially imported in from countires such as Italy, Greece & Spain. This greatly helped in getting the direction of the whole project right as they are designed to look “as though they are giving us a peek into heaven itself”. Within the centre of these two doors is the tabernacle which is placed in such a way amongst the hidden background lighting fixtures that it actually looks as though it is ‘floating’ to Mass goers. This is created by the use of Agabekov Xenon profile strips on either side of the tabernacle. As this is the main focal point of the building, it was important to start here when given the plans. At a glance below, they highlight all of the hard thought and imagination that Willie and the team put into the planned design.
To continue the concept to the wider altar area, RGB in-ground recessed floor lights were installed to create a soft mood over the surface of the altar floor. These are colour-flexible uplighters so they can distribute any colour or hue desired. It then made perfect sense to the team to pair them with two seperate 1x metre Agabekov Lesi Inground strips which serve to illuminate each of the stone doors in the background. In keeping with the brief, what they had in mind for the project from the offset was one very clear thing: to use light and shadow to create the perfect Church atmosphere. Even to the most untrained eye visitors can sense that they are in an extra special building unlike most others.
Of course, it was also important to keep the lighting to a warm and practical level so to hang 6 Prolicht Super Sign Round pendants parallel to each other on either side of the centre aisle was an inspired choice. Their quality is shown when you take into account the fact that they fit in so impressively well in the room and in comparison to the striking altar area. They can produce both direct and indirect light so both the congregation and the ornate ceiling are illuminated. What is better is that these fittings can be adjusted to project light in only one direction if desired. Seen hanging below, they can be dimmed to a minimum or maximum level, perfect for alternating between different church occasions on any given day.
On the ceiling of the body of the church, Agabekov Xenon Spot lights were used to wash the ceiling with a comforting warm glow. As the Prolicht Super Sign Rounds exist already along the body of the church, the Xenon spot lights were the most ideal choice as they are effective yet unobtrusive to the general theme.
Lastly, for it to be a fully successfully executed project, Willie needed to make sure that even the lesser significant areas didn’t go unrecognized. Note above how these three wall features are lit from above and to the side by Maxi Lito Projectors. These provide just the perfect amount of light to showcase the three fixtures on either side of the front entrance. Beautiful!
No matter what the weather – rain, hail or shine – when you take a step into this rural Irish church you will be met with a warm, ambient room, perfect for reflection. Something that Willie and the team are proud to see. Let us know what you think of the result or if you have in fact been to see the interiors of St. Kevin’s for yourself!