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Case Study: Wolfson College, Oxford

Megaman has supplied the lamps and fittings for an unusual project at Wolfson College, Oxford to illuminate a light sculpture in the corridor leading to the new ’Leonard Wolfson Auditorium’. Wolfson College has just completed building a new academic wing and Lecture Theatre sponsored by the Wolfson Foundation and wanted something eye-catching in the corridor leading to the theatre.

Margaret O’Rorke, a creative ceramic artist who was appointed a visiting creative fellow some years ago and now has her own consultancy Cast Light, was invited to come up with the design. Margaret has been working with the translucency of high fired porcelain incorporating electrical lighting for many years, mainly from a potter’s wheel, to create light sculptures.

Margaret first presented to the Arts Committee at Wolfson College a light box she made with the correct sized hole cut in the front, a single light fitting attached to the back and the porcelain disc to the front. Following this she was invited to present her idea to the President and the Governing Body fellows and the concept was accepted by all. 

Margaret then worked closely with Adrian Kitching and Angela Burgess from Megaman who were able to help her to find the best LED lighting system for the project. A false wall was built in order to house the electrical lighting and 55 holes were cut individually to fit each porcelain disc. Megaman’s Planex fittings were installed incorporating GX53 LED lamps to light up the discs. The Planex from Megaman is a recessed fixture that is perfect for use in ceilings with shallow depths. It requires no external transformer which allows simple installation into almost any ceiling and provides the ideal solution for showcase displays as less heat is produced.

The dimensions of the ceramic discs vary between 160mm and 280mm and the electrical fittings are attached to the wall behind each disc. Margaret commented “The translucency of fine high-fired porcelain has led me to throw forms which give light. These ideas stem from the nature of the material, forms that can grow from the potter’s wheel, the process of firing and a sense of adventure with light and space".

Professor Dame Hermione Lee, President of Wolfson College, added “The light sculpture is a miracle, a delight, a work of genius and I couldn’t be more excited, pleased and transfixed. It looks simply wonderful!”.