Discovery Head Office

Lighting challenges

Brand van den Heever from Claassen Auret Electrical and Electronic Consulting Engineers, the lead electrical engineer on site, says that projects of this size do not come along very often. “With almost 110 000m2 of office space, along with 200 000m2 of basement, this project was twice the size of the biggest building we have worked on previously.”

“The architects were the driving force for the lighting design of the building. They came up with the concepts for each space and then we tried to find the suitable light fittings for them. A lot of the time there’s a bit of negotiating and a concept change because often, many of the fittings are imported which we simply can’t afford with the exchange rates. Therefore we try and find local manufacturers who can give us the same product,” he says.

Working on a project with so many different zones and lighting requirements, van den Heever says you work through the project in “bite-sized chunks”. For instance, “We workshopped the entire podium, got certain concepts in terms of what streetlights would be needed, and proposed a bollard which the architects thought was too old-fashioned. Then we found a sliver fitting from Regent Lighting Solutions(RLS).

Once we finalised that and everyone was happy, we moved on to the next area, but you’ll find a lot of the same fittings on the roof as well. There we had a custom light built by RLS because we have an almost 600m running track on the roof for which you want good lighting, but at the same time you don’t want it to be visible from the street.”

As standard footlights do not give the required 2m throw, and a light every 500mm was not feasible, Classen Auret developed and tested a custom-made fitting with RLS. “We tested it on site and showed it to the developers until we found something which worked and we turned into an actual fitting.”

“The sample actually became one of our façade fittings,” notes Byron Lottering from RLS. “We experimented with different lengths and different beam angles, as well as the diffusers and the housing until the client was happy, and through that process, it has now become one of the fittings which we use to wash a wall with light.”


“On the roof there is a multi functional court for volleyball, netball and soccer,” continues van den Heever. “There we went with another RLS fitting, the Boda – it’s a fairly cost effective, high output LED fitting so you get a long lifespan as you don’t want to have to be doing lots of lamp replacements as they are 6m up.” He explains that the roof also features a few ‘garden spike’ uplights to enhance the look and feel, and in the executive bar area, a 7m u-shaped linear to highlight the bar area.

“There are probably around 20 000 light fittings in the building, if not more,” says van den Heever. “Luckily though we had clients who realise value of lighting – between Zenprop and Growthpoint, the two developers, they have a lot of experience so it wasn’t an uninformed client – they know what works, know what is reliable, and also know the roleplayers and suppliers in the industry. Ultimately for a building like this, a lot of thought, development and proposals go into it, even before we get to the stage where we pick the light fittings. We then try and marry what looks nice on paper to what can work in the real world, which is always a bit of a compromise. Yet we had a lot of input and worked very well with the architects and the suppliers to get to where we are today.”


He explains that six months after Discovery moved its staff across, at this stage they are yet to see any major failures. “We haven’t had to revisit any of the external light fittings at this stage, although we have added two ‘street-type lights’ at the entrance and have supplemented lights here and there as people started working in the building – to accentuate certain elements – but it’s been really minor if you look at the bigger scheme of things.”

From the suppliers

Regent Lighting Solutions

We are proud to have been one of the contributing suppliers in this incredible building, supplying both interior and exterior luminaires as well as custom manufactured fittings. Our in-house manufacturing capabilities enabled the development of a unique fitting for the roof-top running track that would provide the required output levels, meet all ingress protection ratings and comply with the design style requirements of the building. Our ability to offer an end-to-end lighting solution where the clients unique lighting objectives were once limited, are now simply subject to research, development and testing by our design and technical teams.

All street lighting and pedestrian walkways surrounding the building as well as the roof-top running track, sports feilds and landscape areas were specified for this project.

Fittings used:

Interior lighting: Linear Mini surface mounted 24W/m 4000K LED; Linear Maxi Recessed 10.5m; Luxon Square Recessed 40W LED 4000K; Jura 1001 4000K LED; Jura 1002 30W LED; and Bali Spike 4.8w 3000K in all landscape gardens.

Exterior lighting: Sliver 1.8m plinth 42W LED 3000K; Piazza post top single 48W 24LED 4000K; Piazza pole 5m mounting height; Tula 2 wall mounted 4000K LED Black; Shuttle wall mounted 18W LED 4000K; Istria Trunion mounted 72W 36LEDS 4000K; and Boda Floodlight 200W LED 5000K.