Homogeneous light for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts

The headquarters of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, or BAFTA for short, has been located just a stone's throw from the world-famous Piccadilly Circus since 1976. In 2021, the glamorous historic building on Piccadilly Road in the heart of London's West End was fully redesigned and enhanced. The refurbished BAFTA premises span five floors and feature some of the most technically advanced event spaces in the British capital including a state-of-the-art cinema auditorium and screening room. Custom LED solutions from Barthelme complement the building's architecture with a wide range of lighting effects without infringing on the Victorian style.

Victorian skylight structures in the Reuben Gallery

Indirect light with LED light lines in gallery

A central space of the renewed BAFTA headquarters is the Reuben Gallery. Here, Victorian skylight structures dating back to 1883, raised and restored by one floor, create a magnificent and dramatically open space framed by a 50-meter long and homogeneous light line. The made-to-measure AQUALUC C:URVE WIDE LED light lines from Barthelme used for this purpose are mounted on the surrounding stucco wall mouldings. With a warm white colour temperature of 2800 Kelvin, they imbue the Reuben Gallery with a cosy atmosphere despite its breathtaking height and mark the transition between floors. The luminous flux of this solution is 1,178 lm/m and can be smoothly dimmed. In the counter area, the bar shelves are contoured with the LED light lines AQUALUC W:AVE BRIGHT.

State-of-the-art technology

Cinema hall illuminated with LED linear lights

One of the highlights of BAFTA's headquarters is the 227-seat Princess Anne Theatre. With its Dolby True Black Screen technology and Dolby Atmos sound, it offers an unparalleled viewing and listening experience and is one of London's most technologically advanced screening centers. Lighting is utilized to augment this experience. LED linear luminaires were custom-made for the wall and ceiling lighting using the BARdolino Angolo LED profile. Barthelme LEDlight flex 08 8 STANDARD 2000 2.0 LED strips with a colour temperature of 2700 Kelvin were inserted inside the luminaire, achieving a maximum luminous flux of 1,860 lm/m in this version. The luminaires were also fitted with opal diffusers to create continuous light lines without visible light points.

Princess Anne Theater at BAFTA Headquarters in London

The LED linear luminaires were integrated at a slight angle to the rear of the ceiling so that the overall impression of the auditorium is not disturbed, and they emit light in the direction of the screen. This renders the luminaires invisible when switched off and creates an exciting interplay of light and shadow when in operation. To avoid unwanted reflections on the screen, the profiles were powder-coated in RAL black to ensure absolute darkness during a film screening.

Comfortable screening room with integrated lighting

Barthelme CATania 3030 Blackline luminaires at the Run Run Shaw Theater in London

An intimate and comfortable 41-seat screening room has been created in the new Run Run Shaw Theatre at BAFTA central, which is ideal for hosting smaller film screenings, showcases and presentations. To emphasize its more individual usability, RGBW luminaires were installed here to enable the implementation of colour-changing lighting scenarios. Linear luminaires from the CATania 3030 BLACKLINE product family with black diffusers, which blend into the fabric when switched off, were integrated into the ceiling covered with black fabric.

Staircase lighting with linear luminaires from Barthelme LED Solutions 

One-meter linear luminaires of the BARdolino mini series with LEDlight flex SLIM LED strips (4 mm wide) are integrated in the theatre stairs and provide orientation for visitors. This luminaire has a particularly compact design and is ideal for use in limited installation space and whenever the luminaire itself is intended to blend into the background.

A forum for ideas and interaction

Cove lighting with LED light lines from Barthelme LED Solutions

The David Lean Room, named after BAFTA's first chairman, offers a space for creative interaction and dialogue at the redesigned BAFTA headquarters. This name should not be unfamiliar to all film enthusiasts, because with his legendary film classics "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Dr. Zhivago," multiple Oscar winner David Lean established himself as one of the most successful directors of his time. As in the central Reuben Gallery, a circumferential homogeneous light line with AQUALUC C:URVE WIDE was installed in the David Lean Boardroom, framing the room and casting a soft grazing light on the walls, thereby creating a warm and congenial atmosphere. This is made possible by the opal encapsulation of the LED light lines in combination with a level light emitting surface.

Roof terrace with view of Piccadilly Circus

Security lighting with LED light lines on roof terrace

Following the expansion, guests and visitors can now access an open-air terrace on the roof of BAFTA's headquarters. From here, guests can experience a breathtaking view of Piccadilly Circus, which is only about 200 meters away. The fully encapsulated LED light lines AQUALUC mini HIGH BRIGHTNESS were installed in the outdoor area as safety lighting and for orientation during evening events. The light lines of the AQUALUC series with protection class IP 67 are optimally protected against external influences and defy even the heaviest London rain. Despite their compact dimensions of only 10.5 x 5 mm, the flexible LED light lines achieve a lumen output of up to 1,725 lm/m at 5000 K, making them versatile for use as ambient lighting, even when installation space is limited.

Lighting control via DMX and DALI

Lighting is controllable from multiple locations throughout the five-story building, DMX digital control protocol was utilised in the cinema areas to interface with complex audio-visual functions. In the circulation areas, meeting rooms and Bar area DALI protocol was used.

Preserving the original 1880s architecture, from every room to the open-air terrace on the 5th floor with its breathtaking views of Piccadilly Circus, the redesign of BAFTA's headquarters has created a unique London venue that meets all the needs required to host world-class events. Close coordination between E4P and the lighting designers and installers was particularly important for the success of the lighting solution.

Project data

Client British Academy of Film and Television Arts 


Main contractor Knight Harwood 

Lighting design LAPD 

Projektpartner INSTA UK | E4P 

©Fotograf BAFTA/Thomas Alexander, 2021

Installed LED solutions in this project