Recently, a familiar European landmark got an illuminating facelift: Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris. The famous 13th century gothic cathedral was retrofitted with a new LED lighting system by Philips, designed by Benoit Ferré, the resident bishop’s architect (European Architecture Company, EUROGIP). The project used a total of more than 400 luminaires with an installed capacity of just 30 kW, compared with almost 140 kW previously – reducing energy consumption by 80 percent.
The 400 luminaires are controlled by an easy-to-use touch-pad operated computerized system. The system contains several lighting programs that can change the lighting due to the requirements of the day and Notre-Dame’s manager can add more if required. Almost all of the luminaires are dimmable, making it possible to modify the lighting according to the event taking place (ceremonies, concerts, prayers, etc.), the time of day, or the season.
The new lighting highlights two key works of art:
The Virgin and Child — This statue, moved to Notre-Dame in 1818, is the most famous of the thirty-seven representations of the Virgin that the cathedral contains. The LED lighting, using profile spots, redefines the characters while at the same time shining a gentle light onto the sculpture and the white flowers laid out at her feet.
The north and south rose windows — Made in the 13th century, the windows symbolize the flowers of paradise. Positioned discretely above the north and south doors more than 50 meters from the windows, two 250W LED spotlights shine onto each rose window, revealing the delicacy of the sculptures. Since they are invisible, the lighting gives the impression that the stained-glass window itself is radiating light.
For Further Reading
Artinfo, Notre Dame Refitted with LED Lights, http://blogs.artinfo.com/artintheair/2014/03/17/notre-dame-refitted-with-led-lights/
Philips, Philips lights up Notre-Dame as never seen before, http://www.newscenter.philips.com/main/standard/news/press/2014/20140312-philips-lights-up-notre-dame-as-never-seen-before.wpd#.U07GHPl90xE