The Watermill Theatre, Newbury

Historic Watermill Theatre seen in a new light thanks to Kosnic

A retrofit of LED lighting within the restaurant of the historic and highly influential Watermill Theatre, near Newbury, has led to an increase in the hire of the venue and a more comfortable dining experience for theatregoers and occasional diners alike. This first step in the theatre’s move across to LED lighting now saves The Watermill’s restaurant £800 per year on its electricity bill, reduces lighting electricity consumption by 90% and has a payback time of only 7 months.*

Background

Built in the 1800’s, The Watermill was originally used as a corn and paper mill and was then renovated to become a small theatre in the early 1960’s. Since this time, it has seen various refurbishments, the most recent of which has been the updating of the theatre’s restaurant and bar area lighting. Previously lit with halogen downlights, the production manager wanted to make the lighting more energy efficient and improve the ambience of the space, without having to replace the existing lighting controls used throughout. In addition, there had been complaints that the existing downlights shone in people’s eyes when they ate, so a less direct form of lighting was needed.

The Project

Production manager at the mill, Lawrence Doyle explains: “Upgrading anything within a Grade II listed building is always a challenge. However, we had reached a point where the lighting within the restaurant and bar area at The Watermill definitely needed updating. As a charity, we are always looking to see if we can incorporate energy efficient technologies into the space to minimise our bills. We decided to work with our electrician Barry Spiller to see if we could incorporate LED lighting into the scheme, without ruining the historic look and feel of the space.” Barry Spiller of Western Electric continues: “The restaurant area was originally lit with about 16 x 40W halogen lamps and 6 x 500W spots and because of the height and colour of the ceiling, the restaurant could look quite gloomy. The Watermill team wanted to solve this problem and make the space more versatile, without having the expense, or fuss, of putting in a new dimming system.” As well as increasing light levels within the space and ensuring that the new lighting worked alongside the existing dimming system, The Watermill also wanted the space to feel warm, welcoming and not look out of place next to the 200 year old oak beams in the ceiling void.

The Kosnic Solution

To bring high quality lighting into the space, 24 x Kosnic decorative 5.5W LED dimmable candle lamps with a silver E14 base were chosen for the two statement chandeliers in the dining area, both perfectly in keeping with the look and feel of the tithe barn’s heritage. By choosing the silver finish, this state of the art technology from Kosnic has blended perfectly with the chandelier’s historic surroundings. In addition, thanks to the lamp’s warm colour temperature (3000K), high lumen output (360lm), long life (30,000 hours), 360° light distribution and ability to be dimmed, it has brought a warm, highly energy efficient and ambient light to diners and other guests that use the space.

Results

Lawrence Doyle concludes: “The restaurant has now been running with these lamps for over a year now and in that time, we have had no lamp failures. Not only do the Kosnic lamps dim down superbly using our existing dimming system but they deliver excellent, warm light levels and don’t flicker when dimmed.” “The lighting refurbishment has proved very popular with existing and new guests alike, so much so that bookings for the restaurant for private functions and other events are up significantly. Instead of being used purely as a quiet, pre-show restaurant, we have now been able to rent it out for more conferences, special lunches, weddings and many more events.” The switch over to LED lighting has proved so successful that The Watermill is rolling out LED lighting throughout the theatre’s interior and exterior. As well as plans to replace the house lighting within the theatre with LED equivalents, The Watermill has just replaced the external festoon lighting on the patio with Kosnic’s stunning 1W LED Startree Golf lamps range. With a reduction from 40W to 1W per lamp, this is a significant saving over the 60 lamps along the length of the festoon lighting and will deliver even more energy savings to the theatre’s lighting electricity bill.