Forum Melbourne


  • Marriner Group
  • Glowing Structures
  • Jackson Interiors
  • Trethowan Architecture


Melbourne’s iconic Forum Theatre was meticulously refurbished by local artisans to ensure the bones of the building remain exactly how patrons know and love this historical venue. Various upgrades to the building including the lighting were thoroughly thought through to ensure the original integrity of the interior was retained.

The discreet refurbishments ensure the building conveys the same feeling as it has for the last 90 years. It was important to the owners, locals and patrons that the building remained in essence the same as it has for nearly a century but with a newer fresher feel.

Key Features


The main criteria was ensuring that the originality of the historic building was retained and no light fittings themselves became the feature.

The clients requested for subtle ingress lighting in addition to subtle layers and accent lighting to highlight the original features of the building.

The original “Forum Blue” light was a must keep, as this is very much a part of The Forum feel. This was refreshed at little expense whilst adding an ambient concealed linear to pick up the frieze at the top of the walls and to also reduce the strain of the blue on the eye.


The lighting to the foyer had always been subpar and neither met building standards of illumination nor highlighted features, this was particularly difficult due to the double height domed ceiling and the increased lighting requirement to the stairways. After researching the history of the building we decided to redesign the starry sky feature which was originally in the foyer to incorporate both an acceptable level of lighting for ingress and cleaning functions whilst replicating the starry sky feature in the auditorium. This was created by using deep recessed, concealed high powered downlights dotted around the ceiling.


We chose a few features to highlight as not to overwhelm the space. Signs, friezes and decorative busts had never had any specific lighting, therefore these were discreetly lit to bring out the unexpected features of the architecture.

Columns around the entry doors were subtly uplit, highlighting architectural elements. The starry sky provides the general light thus creating yet another lighting layer and guides patrons either in or out of the building.

Linking all lighting to a lighting control system ensures that that not matter what the use: gigs, functions etc. the lighting creates an intriguing welcoming atmosphere.


The fragility of the plaster work and different types of recessing materials made for a tricky installation. Restrictions on recessing meant we designed single bespoke mounting to enable the downlights to be installed anywhere including surface mounting.

With heritage restrictions on the building, any light fittings were required to be as discreet as possible as not to detract from the ornate features of the interior of the building.

We read through all the heritage documents to confirm locations of original fixtures and fittings to ensure we retained the initial look and feel of the interior, whilst defining and accentuating hidden gems.

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