The benefits of catenary lighting

Sep 21, 2022    |    Architecture , Catenary Lighting , Fabrication , Tensile mesh

The benefits of catenary lighting are wide-ranging, and they are becoming a more common feature of new developments as well as city centre redevelopments.

Architects, developers, and design engineers are being placed under increasing pressures brought about by the growth in urbanization around the world. Traditional street lighting is not only limiting in its ability to light a space, but it also lacks warmth and focuses more on function than aesthetics.

Catenary lighting solutions are helping to bridge this gap, bringing non-obtrusive lighting solutions to public spaces. Light poles and fixtures can often intrude on public spaces as well as being difficult to match with the overall aesthetics of a particular area. This can compromise both the ambience but also the flow of public spaces and often, traditional street lighting either do not provide adequate lighting or flood an area with too much light that can be stark and cold.

By incorporating catenary lighting systems into planning, designers, developers, and architects can add function, versatility and creativity to an area.

Why is catenary lighting different?

Catenary lighting differs significantly from traditional street lighting solutions. The lighting is strung from almost transparent tensile cables that stretch across an expanse. There is, in many applications, no need for poles, helping to free up the usable space below.

This simple difference vastly transforms a space. With no barriers in place, the flow of that area, in both the day and at night is improved and there are no unsightly poles to distract from the space itself.

Due to the design, catenary lighting also provides a better spill of light compared to traditional pole-based lighting which tends to focus on one particular area directly below the lamp itself.

Benefits of catenary lighting

Catenary lighting systems add mood and shadows wherever you desire. This balance of light and shadow can really help to add to the ambience of a particular space, creating a cosy atmosphere that is warm and welcoming for people using the space. Catenary lighting has been used to transform previously under-utilised spaces by bringing them to life.

There are many other benefits of catenary lighting including:


The obvious benefit of catenary lighting is the actual lighting itself. Due to the positioning of the luminaires, the light can be positioned to create not only great lighting conditions but also shadow. The accuracy of the positioning of catenary lighting also allows a reduction in the overall intensity of the lighting in a given space, softening the amount of light and improving the light spill.

Space maximisation

Not only does a catenary lighting installation increase the amount of space at ground level by removing the need for poles or supporting pillars, but it also maximises the overhead space too, creating a spectacular appearance that becomes a feature of the area. Designers and architects can create amazing designs using catenary lighting that looks spectacular overhead and provides subtle lighting below.

Increased public use

Lighting areas for overhead using a catenary lighting solution means you increase the overall footprint at ground level, increasing the amount of usable space below. With no need for poles or structural supports, spaces become much more usable for the public and can improve the overall footfall flow in a particular space. Often, catenary lighting will be deployed in areas that were previously unlit due to space limitations – this is common in narrow alleyways and these spaces are turned into usable spaces thanks to the introduction of catenary lighting.


Catenary lighting is extremely flexible and can be used in spaces large and small. The tensile cable used to support a catenary lighting installation can be designed to stretch a long way and installations can be up to 30m without the need for interim supports. It can also be configured for small spaces too and this makes it an appealing option for designers and architects working in confined areas that need to be lit.

Improved security

Poorly lit areas are often considered to be less safe than those that are well lit. The use of catenary lighting encourages increased night-time use of space, improving the lighting and the overall atmosphere and creating a safer space for the public. As well as the obvious benefits to security that improved lighting brings, the impact is two-fold as increased use of space also helps to improve the overall security of an area.

Energy efficiency = cost savings

Catenary lighting systems are energy efficient, and this saves you money in the long term. The use of energy-efficient luminaires means you do not need to use powerful beams of light to illuminate an area. Catenary lighting solutions also create less light pollution which helps to enhance a space and creates the perfect spill of light in the desired area.

Case Study

Catenary Lighting Banner

In July 2018, Tiramarama Way was opened in the heart of Auckland, designed by Wraight Associates in collaboration with Lisa Reihana. The lane is an interpretation of Waitemata Harbour and its past time use as a Mahinga Kai!

We are proud to say that our team of riggers installed the tension cables, which has been tension to over 1000kgs to support the lights being hung from the cables. This catenary lighting system is one of our favourite installations, not only for its aesthetic look but the mana behind it. The catenary lighting system celebrates M?ori astronomy, featuring the Te Punga (The Southern Cross) and Matariki.


When used on a large scale, catenary lighting systems can add an atmosphere of vibrancy and fun, or of romance and wonder. Lighting instalments can also help to create large-scale interest in an event or property, increase the security of an area, and help to increase foot traffic into under-utilised public spaces.

To discuss how to liven up an external space with magical catenary lighting, call us today.