Sacred monastery illuminates past, future
Dating back to the late fifth century A.D., the Red Monastery is one of Egypt's best preserved examples of religious architecture whose sanctuary contains an intricate array of niches and columns. To this day, the Red Monastery still functions as a church, but in order to preserve its brilliance, a major conservation project was necessary, carried out by the American Research Center in Egypt with funds from the USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development).
The dramatic antique architecture is embellished with breath-taking paintings — many of which date between the sixth and eighth centuries. Although renovations were necessary to bring the church into the 21st century, it was critical that the church's integrity be maintained, and the renovations be done very carefully — including the lighting. Between 2004 and 2014, a conservation team painstakingly consolidated, cleaned, and conserved the paintings, which revealed their original magnificence.
Only Color Kinetics could provide LED lighting solutions that met all of the church's needs. Color Kinetics offered a solution that allowed maximum light output to highlight the building's design and architectural elements, while using minimal light sources and fixtures — an important consideration for lessening the renovation's impact on the ancient structure.
For the prestigious project, designer Ramez Youssef chose Color Kinetics LED lighting solutions to subtly transform the lighting of the space. To illuminate the interior of the church, eW Burst Powercore luminaires were placed on a customized chandelier to bathe the domed ceiling and upper levels with warm white.
eW Cove QLX Powercore luminaires were placed in concealed locations to highlight individual niches at the lower levels. Designers chose luminaires in a warm 2700 K, which are capable of illuminating the entire two-story church while emphasizing the unique architectural elements and rich colors of the church's interior.
The Red Monastery is now a contemporary space, while still maintaining a warm and historical feel.