Close this search box.


Toranga Zoo shortlisted for the Darc Awards 2024

We are thrilled to announce that our project for the Taronga Zoo’s Nocturnal House has been shortlisted for the prestigious (d)arc lighting design awards this year!

Taronga Zoo’s Nocturnal House offers a unique chance to encounter some of Australia’s most elusive nocturnal creatures. Lighting plays an important role in the overall function of the area as the lighting is not only required to preserve animal welfare, but it also contributes to an engaging experience to guests, enhancing the aboriginal storytelling.

By simulating reverse day and night cycles, seasons and photoperiods that are thought to impact animal biocycles, our lighting design team has created an immersive experience and dramatic nighttime environment.

Significant time was spent one-to-one with the zookeepers, fine-tuning the aiming, lensing, and intensity of the spotlights, considering the visual field of the animals to minimise the impact on foraging, nesting, and breeding activities. As a result, a world-first tailored reverse circadian function was created in the Bluetooth control programming, to support animal welfare and cater for operational needs of the facility. The daylight simulation is programmed to finish for a consistent ‘wake-up’ time for the animals each day, allowing zookeepers to operate safely in the morning before guests arrive.

The Nocturnal House at Taronga Zoo is where the unique night-time fauna meets aboriginal story telling – As guests transition into the leafy forests and dappled light of dawn, leaf projections on the floor continue the narrative. The journey is completed by the flowing water and dawning light of the platypus pools and riverbanks.

All lighting designers are invited to vote, more information on this project and the (d)arc awards can be found here.

Toranga Zoo shortlisted for the Darc Awards 2024 Read More »

2023: A Year in Review

Steensen Varming thanks you for being a part of our story.

As our 90th anniversary year comes to a close, we reflect on the passing year and those that preceded it, shaping who we are today. We measure our accomplishments in quality rather than quantity, and are grateful to our brilliant team at Steensen Varming for not only upholding but surpassing the high standards we set for ourselves. We also extend thanks to our clients, collaborators and friends who have supported us over the years and greatly contributed to reaching this 90-year milestone.

As a global company, we hosted celebrations throughout the year in different locations, each celebration tailored to embrace the specific charms, history and connection of each location to our company. The first, held in Copenhagen, where our story began 90 years ago, was the most intimate, where the highlight was the many stories shared among some of the company’s oldest employees. Sydney’s celebration followed, a black tie event at the Sydney Opera House, the very project that brought us overseas to Australia. Closing our celebrations was the London event, held in the heart of Soho in a jazz club speakeasy, paying homage to our founder’s lifelong passion of music and early dreams of joining a jazz band.

To commemorate our 90th anniversary year, we’ve created a historical timeline, highlighting important projects and milestones over the years, showcasing parts of our journey from our inception to the present day. Despite occasional hardships, we take pride in the innovative spirit that surrounds us and our commitment to responsible action, always choosing what is right over what is easy.

“Looking Forward” are words that represent our 90th-anniversary year, connecting us to both our past and our future – a philosophy that has been maintained throughout our history. Now, we extend those words towards the future, looking forward to new challenges, opportunities and aspirations. As we close the chapter on our 90th year, we again express gratitude to all who have been part of our journey, and we look forward to continuing our story with you.

We end this year with a few words from our CEO, Dan Mackenzie, while wishing you all Happy Holidays and a good New year.

“It has indeed been a privilege to be part of Steensen Varming during the year of our 90th Anniversary. An anniversary notable not only for the longevity but also the consistency in remaining independent, maintaining our purpose and values of creating positive environments, focusing on quality, sustainability, and wider social benefit. All this whilst making sure we have a rewarding and fun approach to life. Every project is valued, but it’s the stories and relationships we’ve built along the way that are truly cherished. We enjoyed and shared stories at parties held in Copenhagen, London, and Sydney, all with different themes that honour elements of our history, that were shared by so many colleagues, clients, and collaborators past present and emerging. As we always have done, we are ‘Looking Forward’ to continuing to contribute, co-operate, support, delight, instigate change for the better and remain true to ourselves.”


2023: A Year in Review Read More »

90 Years of Looking Forward: The Sydney Opera House

By the 1970s Steensen Varming had expanded beyond European borders as the Sydney Opera House brought the company to Australia, where we left a lasting impact on this iconic landmark. Collaborating closely with Danish architect Jørn Utzon, Steensen Varming pushed boundaries of engineering excellence and sustainability while staying committed to aesthetic integrity.

By utilizing Sydney harbour’s plentiful water to provide cool air, we enabled the iconic silhouette to remain unit–free – a ground-breaking initiative on a world scale and at the largest system of its kind, making the Opera House a shining example of sustainable design.

Steensen Varming has since kept a close relationship with the Sydney Opera House and over the years been involved in various refurbishments and design projects, including the Lighting Masterplan which was endorsed by Utzon before his death, and most recently the Concert Hall refurbishment.

This year we celebrate Steensen Varming’s 90th anniversary and 50 years of practice in Australia. Aligning with the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House, this serves as a remarkable milestone that highlights our shared history of innovation and collaboration, cementing our dedication to the Opera House’s continued success and preservation.

90 Years of Looking Forward: The Sydney Opera House Read More »

Our Anniversary Year Reaches the Halfway Mark

As we enter the second half of our 90th anniversary year, we continue to share our gratitude and celebrate this significant milestone with our valued friends and collaborators.  In just three days, we shall embark on a series of intimate celebrations, taking place in the various cities of our studio locations.

The first being in Copenhagen – celebrating with Steensen Varming’s close connections and previous employees, setting the tone for the series of events that will follow. Each offering unique opportunities for knowledge sharing, networking and inspiration.

While maintaining discretion regarding the specifics of these events, they truly embody the values that have guided us throughout our 90-year journey: integrity, expertise, and a commitment to excellence, values that continue to guide us as we look forward.

We hold great appreciation for the relationships we have built over the years and we believe these private gatherings will serve as a testament to fostering meaningful connections within our industry.

We are excited to share stories, exchange insights and further strengthen our relationships during these special occasions and eagerly anticipate the camaraderie and inspiration these events will bring.

Our Anniversary Year Reaches the Halfway Mark Read More »

90 Years of Looking Forward: Herlev Hospital

Healthcare has always been an important focus of our work, today and in the past.

While our international expansion in the mid-60s was growing more rapidly than ever before, Steensen Varming always stayed well connected to the Danish roots.  In 1965, construction of Herlev Hospital in Copenhagen commenced, a project that came to span over a decade. Steensen Varming played a pivotal role providing planning and briefing advice during the early stages with expertise extending to design documentation, contract administration and site supervision ensuring flawless execution of mechanical, hydraulic, fire protection, communication and control systems.

Herlev Hospital is more than a testament to innovative engineering solutions and functional design. It stands tall as the largest building in Denmark to date and holds the distinction of being the largest site-specific artwork in the country, earning the nickname “Polychrome Hospital”. This vibrant concept was brought to life by the artist Poul Gernes, who meticulously coloured every surface, handle, and door frame across 150.000 square meters. In this carefully curated space, constructive colour properties and strategic placement combine to foster an atmosphere of positivity, encouraging a sense of wellbeing and aiding in patients’ recovery.

Herlev Hospital is a true symbol of innovation and artistic expression, a testament to the collaboration between Steensen Varming and the talented individuals who brought this vision to life. We take great pride in our contributions to this architectural masterpiece, knowing that our expertise has helped shape a healthcare facility that goes beyond functional design.

90 Years of Looking Forward: Herlev Hospital Read More »

International Day of Light 2023

The International Day of Light is an annual, global initiative celebrating light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development. It is a reminder of the power of light and the role it plays in our lives and environment.

In our work we celebrate both light and darkness, and how lighting can transform the appearance of the natural and built environment without negatively affecting it.

One of our recent projects, the Eromanga Natural History Museum, in collaboration with Architectus, is a testament to this; the project was recognized with an IES (Qld) Lighting Design Award of Excellence and 4th place in the International Darc Awards.

Join us in celebrating the Day of Light!

International Day of Light 2023 Read More »

90 Years of Looking Forward: St Catherine’s College

In 1964, Steensen Varming joined friend and renowned architect Arne Jacobsen in designing the St Catherine’s College in Oxford, England, providing mechanical and electrical engineering services while ensuring our designs aligned with Jacobsen’s vision for the building.

One of our most significant contributions to the project was the design of an innovative heating system that used hot water piped through concrete floors to provide radiant heating throughout the building. This approach represented a significant departure from traditional heating systems and enabled greater energy efficiency while providing more even heating throughout the college.

In addition to our work on the heating system, Steensen Varming also provided lighting design and electrical and services for the college, including the design of power distribution systems, and telecommunications infrastructure.

St Catherine’s College is a stunning example of modern architecture and has since its construction become a popular destination for architecture enthusiasts and visitors to Oxford alike.

Our work on St Catherine’s College is a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in construction projects. Our team is proud to have played a crucial role in bringing Jacobsen’s vision to life and having contributed to the creation of a building that is both beautiful and functional.

A few years ago we were able to resume our relationship and work on the design and delivery of the new residential buildings and graduate centre with Purcell which responds to Jacobsen’s original masterplan.

90 Years of Looking Forward: St Catherine’s College Read More »

90 Years of Looking Forward: St. Thomas’ Hospital

Encouraged by architects such as Sir Basil Spence, in 1957 Steensen Varming’s international expansion continued with the establishment of a London practice. This marked the beginning of a new era of growth and expansion with the first project undertaken by the London practice being the redevelopment of the old St. Thomas’ Hospital, a project on a major scale.

Located near the banks of the River Thames, St. Thomas’ Hospital was first opened in 1871 with 588 beds and the famous Florence Nightingale Nurses’ training school. However, much of the hospital was destroyed during World War II, and in 1957 the development of a new hospital on the site of the original one began.

Steensen Varming was responsible for the design, documentation, contract administration, and supervision of all engineering services related to the St. Thomas’ Hospital redevelopment. Throughout the project, Steensen Varming incorporated sustainable design features such as energy-efficient lighting and heating systems, natural ventilation, and rainwater harvesting, measures which helped reduce the hospital’s energy consumption and minimize its carbon footprint.

Today, St. Thomas’ Hospital is one of London’s most important healthcare providers and has grown to include 840 beds and is celebrated for its specialized services, world-class staff, innovation, and modern facilities.

90 Years of Looking Forward: St. Thomas’ Hospital Read More »

The Hunterian Museum in London is reopening May 16th

The recent refurbishment of the Hunterian Museum in London was a significant undertaking, involving the development of new museum spaces covering approximately 500m2. The project was part of a wider refurbishment of the Royal College of Surgeons headquarters in Lincoln’s Inn and aimed to create a modern, informative, and immersive space for visitors to explore.

As part of the refurbishment, our team at Steensen Varming was tasked with providing essential mechanical and electrical engineering services, as well as house lighting, to support the design and construction of all necessary services and finishes for the museum’s basebuild. Our contribution was critical in ensuring the fitout team could add the final touches to create a welcoming and informative space for visitors.

Throughout the project, we worked closely with our clients to ensure the museum was equipped with all the necessary infrastructure to create a seamless and immersive experience for visitors. Our team takes great pride in our ability to work collaboratively with clients to deliver projects of the highest standard, and the Huntarian Museum project was no exception.

The refurbished Hunterian Museum features a world-class collection of anatomical specimens and surgical instruments, offering a unique insight into the history of medicine and surgery.

We are incredibly grateful to have been part of this significant project and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with our clients on future endeavors and delivering projects that exceed expectations.

The Hunterian Museum in London is reopening May 16th Read More »

90 Years of Looking Forward: Varming’s House

Steensen Varming was well underway with its international expansion in the 1950s, but smaller local projects were no less special to the company. One such project was Varming’s House, a heritage-listed, humble yellow brick house located just north of Copenhagen that is celebrated for its iconic architecture and innovative engineering.

Designed in the 1930s by Steensen Varming’s founder, Jørgen Varming, in collaboration with architects Niels and Eva Koppel, the house was constructed as a private residence for the Varming family.

One of the most notable features of Varming’s House is its air heating system, which was a groundbreaking innovation at the time of its construction and has been preserved to this day. Despite its age, Varming’s House remains and exemplar of innovative design and engineering. The building’s clean lines and minimalist design are characteristic of modern Danish architecture, while its unusual engineering solutions have made it a source of inspiration to architects, engineers, and design enthusiasts around the world.

It might not come as a surprise that Varming’s House has a special connection to Arne Jacobsen, one of the most renowned Danish architects of the 20th century. Jacobsen was Varming’s close friend and business partner, and it is said that Jacobsen was inspired by the design of the house when he created some of his own iconic buildings. In fact, Jacobsen himself was responsible for the first renovation of Varming’s House in the 1950s, which further solidified the building’s reputation as a masterpiece of modernist design.

Today, visitors to the house can still see many of the original features, as well as the updates made during a more recent renovation in 2014.

In this renovation, Steensen Varming was involved in the refurbishment, retaining the original control system. The renovation included upgrading the windows and adding additional insulation, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in energy usage.

Overall, Varming’s House is an important landmark in the history of modernist architecture and engineering, and its enduring appeal is a testament to the timeless elegance of its design.

90 Years of Looking Forward: Varming’s House Read More »