WE-EF Lights the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Post by on January 04, 2015 in Uncategorized


Few buildings in Manhattan are quite as iconic as the Metropolitan Museum. The classic façade of the Museum has been a landmark for tourists and local art lovers alike for decades. The new four-block long walkway along Fifth Avenue was re-designed by OLIN, the landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm and the new façade and walkway lighting was designed by L’Observatoire International.

FacadeIn order to enhance the architecture of the space, in-ground up-lighting was used to light both the façade and the sidewalk areas. WE-EF’s ETC330 gimbal LED was the tool of choice for the lighting team for a few reasons not the least of which is variable angles and beam spreads the fixture is capable of – ranging from very wide to narrow beams with sharp cut-off capability.

If you look closely you'll notice the two different color temperatures used to  light the trees and the facade.

If you look closely you’ll notice the two different color temperatures used to light the trees and the facade.

Another detail worth mentioning – if you look closely at the photos, you’ll see that two different color temperature LEDs are used in the ETC330, the façade is lit in a warm 2700K while the trees and canopies in the seating area are lit with 3500K. This contrast pulls the seating area away from the façade visually and creates beautiful contrast without the need for filters or other media.

We wanted to share some more about WE-EF so we sent along these questions to Abbey Renfrew, Marking Manager for WE-EF USA, who was kind enough to answer them.

New seating area on the sideway of the Metropolitan Museum.

New seating area on the sideway of the Metropolitan Museum.

In a nutshell, what makes WE-EF different from other exterior lighting manufacturers?
Unlike many other lighting manufacturers, WE-EF specializes in the design and manufacturing of exterior lighting only. That focus provides WE-EF with the unique understanding and demands of an exterior environment. Our products are designed to sustain all types of exterior environments for the long term.

How has WE-EF made the transition to LED?
WE-EF is long considered one of the pioneers in the LED development. In fact, one of the very first commercial LED installations was achieved by WE-EF in the late 1990’s at the Sony Centre in Berlin. Ironically, the lighting designer was the same as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, L’Observatoire International. WE-EF’s approach to designing luminaires for LED solutions has been a thoughtful, careful, and long lasting strategy. With our history in LED, we understood the design obstacles and major benefits of LED from the beginning stages. With this understanding, we have employed unique features in our LED luminaires such as the butterfly lens and Reflection Free Contour lens technology.

When you think of the NY Metro Area, both local projects and the sorts of national and international work our specifiers are known for, what products spring to mind as go-to tools?
As I previously mentioned, WE-EF designs luminaires for the exterior environment, with our particular focus on performance lighting. Whether the product is an ingroud uplight, recessed or surface downlight, projector, steplight, or street and area luminaire, we firmly believe that there is a demand for great performing exterior luminaires and we remain committed to being that dependable source.

Can you describe the process of re-lighting the façade of the Metropolitan Museum?
Given the importance and prominence of the project, WE-EF was involved in a competition of sorts with several other lighting manufacturers. WE-EF was selected due to the many unique design features offered by our ETC330 Gimbal LED uplight. Some of the features considered important by the design team were the reduced depth housing, ‘offset’ gimbal with 30 degree vertical adjustment, lockable aiming, and single-piece, field-replaceable optical lens array. Some design modifications were made such as the 2700 K and 3500 K LED and customized louver.

The WE-EF team also worked closely with the electrical contractor and distributor, which included several conference calls and site visits to ensure a successful installation. One of the interesting things about this project was that each party was committed to its success, making this project a pleasure to work on from start to finish.

If you’d like to see even more projects and products from WE-EF head to over to our slideshow, and of course, you can always contact us to review samples or set up a visit.

Tags: , , ,

Join the SDA mailing list.

Lighting tips, information, industry news, events, and our latest products.


Have an inquiry?

Fill out the form below and we'll be in touch as soon as possible.


Join the SDA mailing list

Your best place to connect with the #WorldofLight