Tridonic supplies mesh wireless controls for LED retrofit of historic Swiss church

July 23, 2019
The historic Temple de Lutry near Lake Geneva dates to the 11th century yet now features a state-of-the-art SSL installation with Casambi wireless technology.

Tridonic has announced that it has supplied Casambi-based wireless controls working with lighting design firm Senseco in retrofitting the historic Temple de Lutry in the municipality of Lutry, Switzerland located along the shore of Lake Geneva. Like many historic sites, the church posed a challenge because the structure could not be altered in any way, yet a wireless smart lighting approach delivered a solid-state lighting (SSL) project with custom scenes and even the ability for visitors to control the lighting when services are not ongoing.

The Temple de Lutry was built in the 11th century as a Benedictine Church and was changed and expanded at key times, including during the 16th century Reformation when the tower was built along with a Renaissance portal. The temple became the reformed parish church of Saint Martin and hosts famed paintings inspired by the Reformation and created by artist Humbert Mareschet.

Caretakers of the church sought to retrofit the indoor lighting using LEDs, motivated first by energy savings and reduced maintenance requirements, but also to better light the famous works of art and to be able to customize the lighting for specific services and use cases. But the challenge was clear to Senseco. “Under no circumstances were we allowed to interfere with the historical structure of the church,” said Yannick Le Moigne from Senseco. “Laying additional power or data cables was taboo, so we solved the problem with a wireless lighting control system.”

A wireless network would allow the desired control with existing power that had supplied halogen lighting more than capable of powering SSL replacements. Tridonic has partnered with Casambi for one of its smart lighting approaches, basicDIM, as we wrote in a recent article on a Casambi upgrade. The Casambi technology is based on Bluetooth Low Energy radio, as is Bluetooth Mesh. But for now, the Casambi implementation still uses some proprietary layers and the company does not refer to it as a Bluetooth Mesh network.

Wireless connectivity enabled by small Tridonic basicDIM modules afforded the designers freedom to choose any luminaires with a 0–10V or DALI input. The designers used circular LED luminaires in the nave with separately-controlled direct and indirect lighting. Spotlights are mounted discreetly on cornices of pillars to both highlight ongoing services and to reveal the intricate architecture of the space. Other luminaires light the organ, choir, altar, and aisles.

The entire system can be controlled with the Tridonic 4remote BT app shown nearby that runs on Android and iOS devices. The app supports custom scene setting, control of individual luminaires, control of groups, and more. The church is using preset scenes for services, Bach concerts, and music and literary events in the choir or nave.

The church has also uniquely implemented a tour scene. The historic nature of the church means that it receives many visitors. Now if visitors arrive with no service ongoing, a visitor can depress a button in the entrance area to start an eight-minute tour scene which sequentially illuminates elements of the church, highlights the paintings, and dims to a close at the end. The basicDIM modules that implement the controls, however, also include relays. And the lighting designers have programmed the system such that the button is inactive during services.

Historic buildings and older churches continue to be some of the most interesting projects that we see relative to SSL retrofits in general. Another Swiss church project in Porza comes to mind, although that project was for outdoor lighting. And LED-based lighting has been used to highlight many UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) sites such as in Rabat, Morocco.

Also we should note that we missed another bit of Tridonic news when we wrote the article linked at the top of this news item. In the article, we mentioned the Tridonic net4more IP (Internet Protocol)-based smart lighting system that was developed in house as opposed to the basicDIM systems that came from Casambi.

Tridonic parent Zumtobel Group recently announced a group-wide software competence center in Porto, Portugal. Tridonic engineers will operate the center that’s focused on smart lighting and the continued evolution of net4more.

“Software know-how is one of our strategic cornerstones in establishing the foundation for the future profitable growth of the company,” said Alfred Felder, CEO of Zumtobel Group. “With the new software competence center for lighting technologies in Porto, we are bundling our group-wide software know-how in order to participate in fast-growing and future-oriented market segments and fulfill our customers’ expectations and requirements of smart and connected lighting solutions.”