Lower Library Reading Room, Merton College, Oxford


The redesign and refurbishment of the Lower Library Reading Room has brought the space up to modern standards with a refresh which included an upgrade to the previous inefficient and bulky light sources.  The brief called for a lighting scheme that increased functional lighting levels to the bookshelves and desks whilst offering visual comfort.  dpa worked closely with the college and lead designer, Furniture in Architecture to produce a neatly integrated lighting solution consisting of several separately controlled layers, which blend to declutter and compliment this historic interior space.

The lighting installation is reversible with minimal impact to the fabric of the building and consists of bronze finish cantilevered bookcase lighting, concealed linear uplighting to the ceiling and selected bookcases and architectural uplighting to the reveals of the central window, which reinforces the main geometry of the library. Table lamps have also been added to the desks for task lighting. All sources are energy efficient and 2700k warm white LED.

Client: Merton College, Oxford
Lead Designer: Luke Hughes, Furniture in Architecture
Electrical Services Engineer: Darke & Taylor
Photography: dpa lighting consultants