illume incontra ilsole
michelangelo, sagrestia nuova
place: basilica di san lorenzo, firenze, italia
project:michelangelo buonarroti
lighting project:Viabizzuno
photos:fabio gambina
entering the space of the new sacristy, the excited gaze rests on the marble skillfully worked by michelangelo and on the elegant architectural geometries in pietra serena. the sculptures are caressed by the natural light that from above, beyond the dome in penumbra, sacred, descends and touches every detail of the monumental architecture of the sixteenth century. the radiant luminosity of this place invites to an intimate retreat and intrigues those who are preparing to study the beauty and origin, to be able to integrate artificial lights. the michelangelo, to follow the compositional rhythm of the old sacristy of brunelleschi, symmetrically built south of the transept of the basilica of san lorenzo, opens windows, with frames at staggered heights, in the upper part of the new sacristy, thus revealing the effectiveness of leonardo’s studies on primary and secondary lights. a harmonic dialectic between direct and reflected light, between ilsole and illume, regulates the design of light for the medici tombs. the luminous body is called the one that has light, and clarity, as is the sun, and the like’, (cit. treatise on the art of painting, sculpture and architecture, by giovanni paolo lomazzo, milan 1584). during the 24 hours of the summer solstice day, on the twenty-first of june, i filmed with several cameras the movement of natural light on the sculptures inside the sacristy. only by strictly listening to the place, i realized i had to bring my lights very close to the sun, tamed by michelangelo with so much skill, to generate an intense and uniform light, not dramatic, with plastic shadows, sensual. the decision to place the lighting fixtures with dynamic n55 binary engine and 180° narrow beam tecnical lamp lensoptica amP on the second cornice, eliminating the existing lighting system installed on the lower order, is dictated by the intention to accommodate the origin of the same light designed by michelangelo. the finishes of the light sources and their retreat from the edge of the cornice derive from the intention to have a perfect integration with the architecture. the nero55 aluminium reflectors and the anti-glare system allow visitors to enjoy the space. the lighting characteristics of the viabizzuno luminaires, used for the delicate restoration of the tombs of michelangelo, are in fact a direct consequence of the data obtained from the study of natural light at the summer solstice. in order to guarantee maximum light quality and very high colour rendering, the electronic sources Viabizzuno, 4000K, 3000lm, are the result of an analysis based on the tm 30 standard, with rf 96, rg 103 and 1 step macadam. the diffused light coming from the lantern floods the space strongly oriented towards verticality, leaving the coffered dome in a half-light that represents the prelude to the ascension of the meidici’s souls upwards, towards the celestial, while on the sarcophagi themselves, finally illuminated in a more sensitive way, come to life the allegories that seem to be sculpted by the type of light of the moment of the day they represent. michelangelo worked on the sculptures placed to celebrate the family of the medici so that the game of absorption and reflection of stone and marble is clear and evocative, but especially to celebrate the prelude to a symbolic narrative, marked by the movement of sunlight, direct and indirect, diagonal and horizontal. the natural light coming from the existing openings continues to be the fulcrum of the sacristy’s lighting, but the new Viabizzuno lighting system generates a light that integrates with the natural one, making a necessary contribution to the appreciation of the space at any time and in any weather condition. ‘the light touches gently, and passes through the bodies in a natural order’.



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