Noroo Milan Design Studio was delighted to receive the commission from the City Council of Ragusa to design the artistic lighting in the Cathedral dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The planning started with close analysis and examination of the architectural structure and the urban context surrounding San Giovanni, with a view to redefining the nocturnal panorama of both the architectural structure and surrounding area, establishing new values and meanings that would complement the pleasing image of the Cathedral by day.
The sophisticated sculptures that feature on the central portal and decorations that enhance the façade of San Giovanni Battista are not the only aspects that distinguish this baroque monument. The façade, with a magnificent and spectacular resolution, protrudes over the vast terrace-elevated parvis, dominates the centre of the city and marks the focal point in the sharp urban layout centred around the Cathedral.
Alongside the historical and artistic research into the Cathedral, an exploratory investigation was conducted which involved night and day visits, analysis of the data supplied by the Technical Department at the City Council of Ragusa, photographic surveys and measurements and lighting surveys of the current status.
In defining the concept, it was decided to overlap and combine 3 levels of lighting, characterised by different, hierarchical lighting backdrops that together would create a global vision that would guarantee the operating requirements and enhance the architectural features of the Cathedral and of the area opposite the façade.
The lighting project follows a strategy that adopts three "layers" of lighting: a low level, achieved by projection; accent lighting again achieved by projection and a localised lighting. Specific solutions were, on the other hand, adopted for the cupola and bell tower. Depending on the interactions between the different layers and levels of intensity achieved by each of them, certain backdrops were created that were defined and controlled using the BLE system, a control system designed by iGuzzini that uses the Bluetooth protocol.
4 backdrops were produced based on the effects created on the square and Cathedral façade. The cupola lighting, on the other hand, remains fixed, at 100% of the power of the luminaires, with no dimming, even an alternating effect is used between clearly defined light and dark areas: the part of the cupola behind the façade is unlit, while the parts visible on the sides are lit by Palco inOut spotlights transversally positioned at the perimeter margins of the transept. Use is also made in these lit areas of the cupola's tambour pillars that are lit from the bottom upwards by Linealuce mini luminaires.
The first backdrop is based on the use of Palco inOut spots installed on the square's lampposts directly overlooking the church and other spotlights, again Palco inOut, installed on the building in front of the church, with beams concentrating on the sculptures and windows on the façade.
The second backdrop, on the other hand, is defined by the elevation of the lighting levels, adding a basic lighting, for projection coming from the Agorà luminaires, installed on the building opposite. In this second backdrop, however, the highlights on the details are still visible.
With the third backdrop, the levels of lighting are raised considerably with the addition of the lighting of the balustrade of the upper parvis, and the base lit by Underscore inOut, while the details on the pilasters that elevate from the lower square are lit by 2 Palco inOuts installed on a metal arm, specifically designed by the Noroo studio.
The fourth backdrop devised to ensure a significant saving in energy, on the other hand, brings about a dip in the lighting levels while the details remain highlighted: the spirals are lit with Linealuce Mini; on the two statues either side of the main entrance, light given off by the Palco inOut comes from above. Palco inOuts were also used on the tip of the bell tower.
The BLE control system was selected to simplify the control of the various luminaire units that have different supply systems: the luminaires positioned on the municipal offices building share the building's power supply; the poles on the church's parvis, the balustrade and the product on the roof of the pharmacy are powered by public lighting and connected to a twilight switch; bell tower and cupola are powered from the church's power supply. The luminaires were divided into groups connected to an interface, for a total of eight interfaces. Commissioning work of the luminaires was carried out, precisely to avoid intervening each time on the general structure and to guarantee the possibility of very simply selecting the final backdrop while on the move, using the iGuzzini app: the person entrusted with controlling the system and backdrops can do so from their own mobile phone.
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