LEDs Take Center Stage at the Louvre in Paris

LED lighting is making great strides in some very interesting places – even the art world. LED lighting has been knocked for its bright white color and lack of aesthetic appeal. But it is making inroads in special cases.

Recently, Toshiba joined the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, in a new partnership to retrofit the external lighting at the Louvre, with LED lighting.  The partners kicked off the first phase of the partnership by bringing LED lighting to the iconic central Pyramid designed by internationally renowned architect IM Pei, as well as the three smaller pyramids and a section of the facade of the Colbert pavilion (part of the main museum building). The new lighting was switched on during a ceremony on December 6, 2011. The project is supposed to be completed in 2013.

The main driver for the Louvre’s external LED lighting project is to save money and energy.  The LED retrofit is expected to save the museum 73% in exterior lighting costs by bringing power consumption down from 392,000W to 105,000W.  Toshiba designed six different fixtures specifically for the Louvre install that meet specific requirements including aesthetic requirements.  According to a write up in LEDs Magazine, the LED lighting had to be approved by the Louvre’s technology directors, but also by the museum Director and the Historical Monuments Committee of Paris.

According to Toshiba lighting specialist Takayoshi Moriyama, there was considerable debate about the size, shape and color temperature of the fixtures (2700K was eventually settled on). “We had to harmonize the fixtures with the building as part of the scenery,” he said.

There are no plans to bring LED lighting inside the museum to light up their art.  However, LEDs light up one iconic piece of art – the Mona Lisa.  Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece is illuminated with a standalone, purpose-built LED light source.  Other Parisian landmarks that feature LED lighting include: the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper and the Champs Elysées during the holidays.

For Further Reading:

LEDs Magazine, LED lighting at Louvre symbolizes Toshiba’s move into Europe, http://www.ledsmagazine.com/features/9/2/7

Cnet.com, Louvre looks to LEDs to light the way, http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20009251-54.html

Smartplanet.com, Toshiba LED lights to illuminate the Louvre, http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/global-observer/toshiba-led-lights-to-illuminate-the-louvre/867

(Photo: www.SophiaPagan.com)