Architectural lighting to enhance heritage

Toon Reynders - Schréder Group Product Manager
Toon Reynders
Schréder Group Product Manager

Cities thrive on their heritage. It is the beating heart of a city in terms of history, identity and tourism. Yet, at night, numerous buildings disappear into the shadows. Schréder's architectural lighting is there to illuminate and magnify them.

Illuminating our heritage 

Urban lighting is at the centre of many city developments. The emergence and development of the “Smart City” concept in recent years has served to increase this trend. Indeed, in addition to the environmental and safety issues related to urban lighting, many cities are actively looking to enhance their historical heritage at night with sustainable, dynamic and robust LED lighting.

Churches, listed buildings, ruins, monuments, castles, gardens and sculptures are all places of memory that contribute to the identity of a city and the pride of its inhabitants. For many years, many of these sites were badly lit at night, with rigid fixtures that consumed a lot of energy. Today, thanks to technological advances, Schréder is able to offer a sustainable and precise architectural lighting that exposes every intricate detail of a historic site or building.

Sculpting light with LED technology

Today, thanks to LED technology, architectural lighting is not only more cost-effective but also extremely precise. Indeed, our work is to literally sculpt the light to highlight the smallest architectural details, thus bringing out the character and the story of the site being illuminated. In this way, we reveal or interpret heritage which has been lost or essentially forgotten. 

When executed with a well-designed framework, lighting cities is an art that provides many social benefits: increased sense of safety, a strong sense of belonging to a community or city, lively urban environment with must-see historical sites that reinforce character and attract the local population and tourists

LED technology can bring even more value when used with a DMX control system. This technology enables an infinite number of light effects to be pre-programmed to create, for example, variations in colour or intensity to mark seasons or events. In this way, we can literally enhance a city's nightlife by 'dressing up' its architectural heritage, to the delight of residents and visitors alike.

Saint Joseph's Church in Anger was illuminated to highlight its status as an oasis of light for the local community with energy-efficient Schréder floodlights

Take Saint Joseph’s Church in Angers. It was a tough challenge: highlight its status as an oasis of light for the community.

By installing ENYO spotlights close to the ground with POSS luminaires placed directly on the building, we were able to magnify its majestic façade. With 50 floodlights, the façade is revealed in all its splendour late into the night, enchanting the inhabitants and day - or rather evening - visitors. 

The same approach has been taken to illuminate one of the most important monuments in Madrid: Supreme Court. The local residents are delighted to see this monument shine like a beacon of light when they are out for their evening strolls.

Supreme Court Madrid is illuminated to highlight its symbol as a beacon of light and foster social cohesion

Architectural lighting within cities

When a city wants to enhance its heritage through light, it is not simply a matter of “lighting at night”, but rethinking the historical building to integrate it into the urban fabric. While architectural lighting certainly consumes a lots less energy today thanks to LED technology, (saving money for towns and cities), it is also an excellent means of unlocking new commercial opportunities in a city and boosting its night-time economy. Successful lighting can act as a real draw, attracting tourists and inhabitants, as well as investors and retailers who find not just a good quality of life but also a backdrop for their activities.

Smart LED lighting enable us to create more welcoming and engaging public spaces. Well designed, carefully thought-out architectural lighting restores historic buildings to their rightful place as nocturnal landmarks. Consequently, along with urban lighting, the illumination of a city’s heritage enables a real network of nocturnal attractions to be developed and creates a focus for community life after nightfall. 

At Schréder, our expertise in architectural lighting is not limited to historical heritage sites. From illuminating Grand Place in Brussels to the work of art by Swiss sculpter André Lasserre on Lake Joue and the arches of Saint Blaise Square in Bradford, ours teams are here to support you in all your architectural and urban lighting projects to create safe, vibrant and engaging cities people live to love in. 

About the writer
Toon is an industrial engineer in electronics who always had a passion for lighting and technology. He seized the opportunity to join the industry after graduating and now brings his 10 years of experience in sales and marketing to develop lighting solutions for Schréder customers worldwide. 

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