Osram will relight St. Peter's Basilica with LEDs

Oct. 31, 2017
Luminaires will replace halogen, accentuating the art and architecture, and saving energy.

Luminaires will replace halogen, accentuating the art and architecture, and saving energy.

Osram has won a notable piece of repeat business, as the Vatican agreed to replenish the lighting inside St. Peter's Basilica with LED luminaires and spots, three years after relighting the Sistine Chapel.

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The new architectural lighting will accentuate the “magnificence, power, and architectural complexity,” of the world's largest church, will improve the illumination of artworks such as Bernini's bronze canopy and Michelangelo’s marble Pieta, and will also provide energy savings of around 85% by replacing halogens, Osram said.

Osram's LED relighting of the Sistine Chapel in 2014 accomplished similar objectives, helping to give new visual life to Michelangelo's famous ceiling and other masterpieces. Osram has also relit the Raphael Rooms in the Vatican Palace, and installed new outdoor LED lighting at St. Peter's Square.

“We won worldwide recognition for the cutting-edge LED lighting system we installed in the Sistine Chapel,” said Osram CEO Olaf Berlien. “We are very excited about this new opportunity to demonstrate our skills as a provider of complex, large-scale lighting solutions by conducting the lighting project in St. Peter's Basilica.”

New architectural LED luminaires will sit just below the gold lettering, and will help accent many of the Basilica's features, such as Bernini's bronze canopy — also called the baldachin — over the main altar, which is believed to sit above St. Peter's tomb. (Photo credit: Ricardo André Frantz via Wikimedia.)

Working with art experts from the Vatican, with the Vatican's office of the Fabric of Saint Peter, and with the technical services of the Governorate of the Vatican City State, Osram is designing a. architectural lighting system “highlighting the plasticity of the structure, its marbles, and its architecture,” including the 151-ft-high nave and the nearly 450-ft-high dome at the nearly 400-year-old church, Osram said.

The company will use between 650 and 700 luminaires as well as LED spots, an Osram spokesperson told LEDs Magazine, noting that the color temperature has been set at 3000K while the brightness will be adjustable. The several hundreds of luminaires represent a much larger job than the 50 luminaires installed at the Sistine Chapel.

Osram CEO Olaf Berlien, shaking hands with a religious repeat customer. (Photo credit: Osram.)

Installation will begin in April and should be completed by Christmas 2018, he said.

Osram has also relit the Raphael Rooms in the Vatican Palace, and St. Peter's Square.

MARK HALPERis a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.