Situated in the heart of Belgium as one of the prime European examples of Gothic architecture, the Cathedral of Our Lady had its lighting refurbished with new, sustainable LED lighting.
The Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp took 169 years to construct (from 1352-1521), finally dominating the city’s skyline with a height of 123 metres. It is the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries. As well as being a place of worship, the Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Rubens.
The City of Antwerp’s commissioned a comprehensive lighting master plan, the first major project of which involved new lighting for the main square and historical centre. Susanna Antico Lighting Design Studio’s lighting design was focused on highlighting the architectural masterpiece, whilst remaining sensitive to the surrounding public spaces: minimising light pollution, hiding the fixtures from public view during the day, and using sustainable LED lighting. KeyStone Technologies worked with the Design Studio to program and commission the lighting.
Linear SCULPline LED floodlights illuminate the cathedral’s façade, and the Gothic architectural detailing is highlighted with diffuse, wall-grazing light that becomes sharper and more descriptive upward to the spire and its distinctive gold clock. Cooler colour temperatures are used in the fixtures at higher elevations to create a greater depth of field for the viewer.
The cathedral presented many design challenges when it came to the lighting refurbishment of the historical building, including sensitive placement of the fixtures into the old stone. Over 780 meticulously planned and placed lighting fixtures were used across the entire façade to ensure every one of the fine details is illuminated, regardless of viewing angle.
The lighting is managed by a Pharos LPC 2 making use of the Art-Net DMX protocols, and uses a number of pre-programmed timelines and scenes for different times of day, as well as recurring special calendar events and religious holidays. The flexible Pharos system uses an API (Application Programming Interface) to allow for full control by the cloud-based Grid Operators City Platform.
The entire installation helped reduce energy consumption by 40% compared to the old remote flood-lighting. The magical transformation is now visible from a 360⁰ view around the cathedral and from great distances.