Commercial Catenary Lighting for Building Exteriors

If you are looking for an outside lighting solution, commercial catenary lighting might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

But a customised commercial catenary lighting installation can beautifully enliven an outdoor area, and provide numerous other benefits that may be lacking with other lighting solutions.

What is commercial catenary lighting and how is it used?

The word ‘catenary’ refers to the curve formed by a rope or chain that hangs between two points. In terms of lighting, catenary refers to the lights suspended on overhead cables, usually anchored to building walls or other structures.

Catenary lighting is used to light up laneways, walking tracks, carparks, festivals, courtyards, town squares and more. An example is Henley Square in Adelaide, where long strings of overhead lights are anchored by purpose-built canopies. The lights allow people to safely enjoy the beach area after dark. Another one is Scotch Row in Sydney, where laneway overhead catenary lighting encourages dining, socialising and window shopping in the evenings.

Commercial Catenary Lighting for Building Exteriors / Tensile Design & Construct

Benefits of catenary lighting

Catenary lighting has a number of benefits, including:

  • Adaptability – catenary lighting can light spaces of all sizes. It can open up large spaces, or be squeezed into tight spots (for example the ‘Reflect’ light sculpture in Sydney), depending on the site and purpose.
  • Flexibility – an installation can be set up permanently. But it can also be a temporary installation that can be dismantled or even moved to a new location for festivals and other events.
  • Space maximisation – with catenary lighting, you get to dispense with large intrusive poles and columns. This means there is more room for people to move within the space. This may reduce the project cost as well.
  • Decorative options – it can be used to decorate a space or add artistic elements, as in the case of the Steam Mill Lane ‘street jewellery’ project.
  • Targeted – you get to decide what areas to light up more brightly (for example to encourage movement) and where to create a softer, more subtle spill of light.
  • Long spans – catenary lighting installations can accommodate very long spans. At Henley Square, the cables are up to 30m in length. Excess swaying is also avoided through correct engineering and tensioning of the cables.
  • Freedom of design – with your installation you can choose from just about any form of lighting (think festoons, Christmas lights, tubes, LEDs, pendants, lanterns) and how they are configured. You can also add your own decorative elements if you wish and create the mood or ambiance you desire – whether that’s playful, floating, festive or restful.

Commercial Catenary Lighting for Building Exteriors / Tensile Design & Construct

What to consider in your installation

Before starting, you need to determine the purpose of your project. For example, whether you are looking to improve use of a space, provide security, decorate a space, create ambience, and so on.

Site conditions will also need to be assessed. Considerations here include how the cables will be configured, anchored and supported, and what size spans will be required.

Ongoing maintenance is another issue with to factor in – which may involve cleaning, checking cable tension, replacing lights and other tasks. Site accessibility for this will need to be considered as well.

Contact us to find out more

If commercial catenary lighting interests you, or you already have a project in mind, feel free to contact our team to find out how we could help you bring your ideas to life.

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