Panamá Viejo

    Panama City, Panama

    Photo Credits: Signify

    Reviving ancient ruins whipped by time with modern, sustainable light

    Dedicated to preserving the history of Panamá Viejo, the Board of Trustees of Panamá Viejo arranged a celebration to commemorate the ancient city’s 500th anniversary. Panama Viejo is the remaining part of the original Panama City and it has been a World Heritage Site since 2003, as an extension of the Historic District of Panama.


    The historic site is comprised of more than 20 monuments that were illuminated, with conventional lighting at night, although tourism was limited to daytime hours. The idea was to illuminate the site’s most iconic monuments in time for the celebration with a connected, sustainable, and state-of-the-art lighting system that would drive tourism at night and establish the ancient city as a benchmark for historic sites in Spain. Phase One of the lighting project included Centro de Visitantes, Torre de la Catedral, Casas Terrín, Cabildo, and the Convento de la Concepción.


    The monuments were illuminated with Color Kinetics Graze Powercore, ReachElite RGBA Powercore, and Blast Powercore, RGBW to provide dynamic color-changing effects on the interiors and exteriors of the buildings. The light displays, which can be customized and scheduled for special holidays or events, enhance the exterior façades, as well as convey that there is still life inside the ruins.


    Since Panamá Viejo is a World Heritage Site, precautions were taken for the installation and maintenance of the system to avoid impacting the site in any way. The luminaires were surface mounted for safe and easy removal when needed.


    Energy efficiency and sustainability were also key project requirements. For this reason, Interact Landmark was implemented to provide remote monitoring and management of the lighting installation. It provides visibility into each monument’s lighting system, including alerts, system parameters, reports, and enables off-site configuration. SunStay Solar luminaires were installed on the roads connecting the monuments, to eliminate energy consumption by taking advantage of Panama’s abundant sunlight.


    Visitors can download a mobile app to access news and information about the monuments, as well as control and interact with the light, take photos, and share them on social media.


    Panamá Viejo is now clothed in light, integrating the ancient city into the region’s modern urban fabric and highlighting it as a historical site of humanity and national pride.

    Project credits


    Board of Trustees of Panamá Viejo


    Lighting Designer and Architect:

    Andres Sanchez, Signify




    Jorge Leal


    Electrical Contractor:

    ATP Electronics

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