Notre Dame celebrates with light
In 1163, a stone was laid down before Pope Alexander III to mark the spot of a new building. This stone forms part of the foundation of Notre Dame, one of France's most well-known cathedrals. The magnificent landmark, which inspired Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is an architectural focus of Paris.
To celebrate Notre Dame's 850th anniversary, the Maurice de Sully Association, under the control of DRAC de L'Ile-de-France, a directorate administered by the Ministry of Culture and Communication in France, decided it was time for the church to come out of the shadows. In 2013, the cathedral's general manager contacted lighting designer Armand Zadikian to refurbish the place of worship with an LED lighting solution.
"The lighting must be efficient, but without overpowering the beauty of the architecture, just highlighting it," Zadikian explained.
The church was previously lit with incandescent lamps that required constant maintenance and consumed large amounts of energy. The ministry chose to switch to LED lighting to minimize upkeep and reduce energy usage as much as possible.
After testing fixtures from various manufacturers, it seemed only Color Kinetics had what it took to get the job done. Color Kinetics is no stranger to the cathedral, as ColorReach Powercore luminaires are also installed. iW Reach Powercore LED floodlights, installed along the cathedral's front gallery, highlight the altar, organ, and pulpit. The lighting accentuates the liturgical east end of the church without diminishing the beautiful architecture and religious significance of the building.
ColorGraze Powercore LED grazing luminaires are installed on the building's upper ledges to illuminate the second-floor alcoves with a wide range of hues. Fifteen different lighting atmospheres can be created for church ceremonies.
The luminaires are precisely placed in the joints of the stone columns to prevent any deterioration of the church's fragile interior. The grazing luminaires emphasize the monumental depth of the cathedral while simultaneously detailing the walls.
In total, over 400 LED luminaires were installed in the interior of the church, all of which require less maintenance and are easier to access than the previous lighting system. The use of LED luminaires results in energy savings of over 75%.
The combination of Color Kinetics luminaires and age-old architecture enhances the Notre Dame cathedral, leaving visitors in awe.