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Australian Museum, Sydney NSW

The award-winning 'Project Discover' brings an Australian icon back to light.


Australian Museum Sydney Nsw

Optics were extremely important for this project. As well as making the best use of natural light, we worked on creating scenes, highlighting points of interest, shaping and framing artworks and making sure everything was compatible with the control system.

The building

The Australian Museum is Australia's first museum, and the fifth oldest natural history museum in the world. With its recent extensive renovation, the heritage-listed Australian Museum may now sit among the best natural history museums in the world.

The award-winning 'Project Discover,' was driven by the design thinking of COX Architecture with Neeson Murcutt + Neille. It expanded the museum’s role as a world-class educational and cultural facility by providing an upgraded civic space where people can now interact, discover and explore.


Transforming an Australian icon

Enhancing the architecture, and the historical and cultural heritage of the area, was crucial for the museum. To help make this possible, we were selected as part of the museum’s redevelopment lighting solution. Lighting design was facilitated by ARUP, while ERGO Group took care of the lighting, electrical and communication installations - bringing new breathtaking experiences to guests at an unparalleled level. We collaborated with both teams to develop a customised solution that catered to the individual requirements of the museum.

Guided by the designer's concept development, we considered ease of movement and wayfinding while creating the lighting solution for this project. We wanted to design a solution that encouraged the public to engage with William Street as its main focus and reveal the natural beauty of the building’s historic sandstone construction.


Flexible lighting solutions

The museum hosts a range of exhibitions, so we needed to ensure the appropriate light fittings were used throughout its spaces. Our flexible and customisable product range was versatile enough that we could achieve the right lighting solution. We considered a variety of colours, temperatures, beam distributions and accessories to ensure the lighting was flexible for a diverse range of exhibitions and events.

Optics were extremely important for this project. As well as making the best use of natural light, we worked on creating scenes, highlighting points of interest, shaping and framing artworks and making sure everything was compatible with the control system. This all required careful consideration to ensure we had the flexibility to suit the needs of particular exhibitions.


Enhancing the features of the building

The stunning Escher-influenced staircase is a highlight for Project Discover, providing an up-close look at the craftsmanship of the historic sandstone work. We used our XF24120 strip lights as a wall washer to highlight these intricate details, while offering a warm contrast to the staircase’s natural light and white surfaces.

Corridors leading from the staircase were lit with our LST5 providing evenly lit floor surfaces while the wood panelled wall details were accentuated by cove lighting using our Flexiled series. This use of lighting creates a sense of ambience that continues as natural light cascades through Hintze Hall – the museum’s central civic space. The public accessways to the Wild Planet Exhibition are illuminated by our XDRL10 in 4000K colour temperature, giving them a warm and inviting, appearance.

Visitors entering the museum through the Groups Entrance will see a spectacular wall wash lighting effect along the lower ground sandstone corridors, courtesy of our LST collection. LST is equipped with deep-set light optics, designed for glare control. This collection creates mood and ambience by hiding its light source within the field of view. The luminaires were carefully placed between the concrete ceiling slats, highlighting the textured surfaces.

The Australian Museum's gift shop is illuminated by our XTB15 - an ideal lighting solution for the museum’s retail environments thanks to its versatility and control.


Adaptable, fast and exceptional quality

Our uncompromised dedication to high quality products and value-adding solutions throughout these spaces meant we could offer alternatives to the originally specified products – at an affordable price.

With our flexible approach, we were able to meet the requirements of this large-scale project, adapting quickly to changes within the construction stage of the project. Our capability to meet the required quick turnaround times was second to none.

Our lighting solutions generated immediate and future value for the museum, including improved lighting for people using the space, refined aesthetics and savings from more efficient power consumption – giving the museum operators greater control over maintenance and budgets.

Client Testimonial

"...A number of memorable and ingenious gestures reveal and celebrate the museum's rich historic layering. Heritage sandstone, previously hidden, now shines alongside sensitively inserted modern inclusions..." AIA Jury on Project Discovery

Sydney, NSW
Arts & Culture, Retail
Interior Designer
COX Architecture, Neeson Murcutt + Neille
Electrical and Communications
Ergo Group
Kane Constructions
Lighting Designer
Brett Boardman Photography

Trend Lighting are a valued supplier of Sheridan, consistently delivering a premium full-service experience from concept design to installation with products of the highest quality. What we appreciate most about working with their team is that nothing is ever too much trouble. They continually go above and beyond to provide the best lighting solutions for our stores.

Joel Newham - Head of VM and Store Development Hanes Australasia - Sheridan Group

From the service, products, and reliability we have been nothing but happy since using Trend. The team have consistently gone above and beyond ensuring we turn around orders in tight deadlines, always making it happen.

Alexandra Klapos - Retail Project Coordinator - Billini

We are extremely happy with the work done by Trend Lighting. The lights chosen are stylish and blend well with our office whilst providing an excellent environment for our team to view fabrics and sample products.


The lighting design provided by Trend completely transformed the space and was continuously complimented by our clients from the first day we had them up. We look forward to working with Trend for our future projects.

Ben Bottalico - Blue Group Projects
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