Ancient Church of Porza gets stunning yet non-invasive LED lighting retrofit

Oct. 23, 2017
B Light has supplied a number of outdoor SSL products that have given the Church of Porza in Switzerland a stunning look while maintaining the sacred nature of the site.

B Light has supplied a number of outdoor SSL products that have given the Church of Porza in Switzerland a stunning look while maintaining the sacred nature of the site.

Dating to the 17th century, the Church of Porza stands on a hill in the Swiss district of Lugano, and while small in size, the church carries significant historical worth. The church recent underwent a solid-state lighting (SSL) retrofit that was intended to emphasize the beauty of the building without impacting the historic structure in any way. B Light has supplied a number of LED luminaires that have accomplished the goals as nearby photos demonstrate.

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The Church of Porza was dedicated to Saint Bernardino from Siena in the Tuscany region of Italy and Saint Martino from Tours in France. The building has a single nave and a bell tower with an octagonal drum. The baroque-neoclassical church is in a spectacular setting with views of the hills in the Lugano area.

Lighting sacred and historic sites has been an important early application for the deployment of LED lighting. As was the case in Porza, such lighting projects must not impact the structure for both religious and historic reasons. Small LED form factors and low power requirements have made an SSL retrofit the only option for projects where the desire is to improve the quality of the lighting design. For example, we covered the lighting in the interior of a neo-Gothic church in Germany. And we published a feature-length article on an SSL project at the Durham Cathedral in England.

In the Swiss district of Lugano, LED lighting from B Light casts a beautiful glow upon the Church of Porza, which dates back to the 17th century.

In Porza, B Light was tasked to light the bell tower, the churchyard, and the outdoor area enclosed by low walls. The goal was to maintain a solemn atmosphere while enhancing the beauty of the site and making ingress and egress safer for worshippers.

To light the passage leading to the entrance of the church and portions of the churchyard, B Light installed Inserto Medium DO luminaires that are recessed into the surface in an asymmetrical pattern. The luminaires both light the passage and deliver some uplight to the front surface of the church and portal.

In this angle from inside the front doors of the church, you can see an example of the LED lighting that was designed not to intrude on the visitor experience with the Inserto Medium DO recessed luminaires that deliver walkway lighting on the path to the structure.

The bell tower, meanwhile, is lit with Linear Tube 112 Slim fixtures that, as the name implies, feature a tube-shaped form factor that can uniformly light such a structure while being hidden from direct view. The luminaires are installed inside the bell tower, making the bell clearly visible against the contrast of the night sky.

The remainder of the area lighting in the project was focused on benches located around the site and on the trees in the churchyard. Under the benches, B Light deployed Button 100 DO luminaires that have optics designed to reduce glare. More-directional and recessed Meropre 140 AD luminaires provide uplight on the trees.

The Church of Porza joins a growing list of sacred sites where worshippers will enjoy the benefits of LED lighting. Indeed, the list includes the most famous of these sites such as the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square.

About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.