Nelson Mandela Square is a vibrant hub in the heart of the upmarket suburb of Sandton, Johannesburg. The square, which attracts around a million visitors each month, was recently renovated to bring the complex onto par with the revamped and extended Sandton City. A renewed lighting scheme in the public open space of the square formed part of the overall renovation of the retail, hospitality and office complex.
Renovations on the square were minimal, allowing the patina of time to contribute to the making of this space, as originally intended. The paint used on the buildings was left untouched and the lighting too was kept much as it was. A number of considerations influenced this decision: principally, a respect for the square as a public civic space. In addition, as an open space, the square enjoys natural daylight so any night-time lighting should be warm, welcoming and safe, but should not interfere with the view from hotels and offices overlooking the square nor the restaurants surrounding the square. As a public space, the square also hosts special events from time to time and while power is available for specific lighting for these functions, the ambient lighting of the square does not detract from such events.
The original, big, square, boxed uplighters mounted at first floor level to light up the façades of the buildings have been remade to match the original lights. Mercury vapour lamps are used in these fittings for the warm, yellow light they produce.
The fountain, which falls virtually level with the square, has been refurbished and the new fountainheads installed are each embedded in a ring of LED lights, mounted flush with the base of the fountain. The water jets and lights are computer controlled using a program that allows for multiple variations in water height and rhythm as well as light intensity and colour.
The statue of Nelson Mandela, standing at the western end of the square, is not specifically illuminated as it was considered to be commanding enough in itself. However, tall boxed lamps stand at the wide stairways to each side of the statue and at the entrances to the mall, in effect framing the access routes. These boxed lights, about a metre high and 500 mm2 at base, have been made anew to replace those that were there before.
The tall standing boxed lights are made of translucent white acrylic sheet in a steel frame, these ‘tower’ lights are fitted with low level LED lamps which provide the warmer light preferred for this application. The same design is carried through, at smaller scale, to the interior mall, a marker of continuity between outside and inside.
Regent Lighting supplied of all the light fittings and systems in the renovation project.