THE LATEST internet-connected lighting is rejuvenating a set of priceless medieval frescoes by the artist Giotto.
The new IoT lighting system includes integrated LED luminaires, environment sensors and sophisticated internet-protocol software. In an initial phase, sensors designed specifically for the 14th century Italian church housing the frescoes will measure the variations in natural light.
The data will then be processed in the cloud using a bespoke algorithm to adapt the artificial lighting at the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua to any changes in environmental conditions.
This will benefit both the visual experience of church-goers and the conservation of the paintings, as the artificial light will interact dynamically with the natural light and automatically adjust the colour temperature and intensity to constantly achieve values that offer the best possible viewing conditions.
From the moment it is installed, this system will guarantee better colour rendering and energy savings of up to 80 per cent compared to the previous lighting scheme.
‘This ambitious project is the first time ever that a highly advanced technological system has been applied to a cultural context of this importance,’ said the mayor of Padua, Sergio Giordani. ‘This will allow visitors to appreciate better the unique brilliance of these magnificent, world famous frescoes’.
The asymmetrical distribution of the six windows on the southern facade of the chapel produces an uneven distribution of daylight, as the windowed wall enjoys less natural light than the one opposite it.
‘This ambitious project is the first time a highly advanced technological system has been applied to a cultural context of this importance’
Sergio Giordani, Mayor of Padua
This creates constant changes in the environment’s visual balance and a counterlight effect that troubles visitors. Thanks to the new system, the light variations will be detected and transmitted to the control system that will adjust the luminaires accordingly – in compliance with European standards for exposure limits for the conservation of artworks – and improve the visitor’s viewing experience.
The system operates using internet protocol with a series of compatible sensor nodes. Each sensor node can therefore be reached remotely to view the data measured or change the settings so the artwork can be enjoyed to the full.
‘The lighting project for the Scrovegni Chapel is a challenge that we have taken up with immense enthusiasm,’ said Adolfo Guzzini, president of iGuzzini Illuminazione, ‘Just two years ago, in fact, when the lighting system for the Last Supper was unveiled, the level of technology used here was not available.’
The installation features iGuzzini Palco and Laser Blade luminaires with a high colour rendering index – and a design that blends with the chapel’s architectural features. The better colour rendering has already enhanced the perception of the frescoes’ colours, especially the warm tones of the gold leaf used in the haloes and other features.
The new system also guarantees immediate improvements to the already optimal conservation conditions of the paintings by zeroing UV and IR emissions to avoid any risk of damage.
The second phase of the project will feature tunable-white light fittings whose colour-temperature can be adjusted dynamically as the intensity of natural light varies, ensures that in a second phase visitors will be able to see these frescoes more clearly no matter what time of day it is.
VIDEO: GIOTTO’S FRESCOES IN A NEW LIGHT