Disano lights for St. Mary’s Basilica in Gallarate

Disano lights for St. Mary’s Basilica in Gallarate

New LED lights enhance the recently completed restoration works and the Church’s art treasures.

The lighting system includes Vision LED (Fosnova) with separate cabling and Micro Liset (Fosnova) that blend in perfectly in the architecture.

A complex project that meets the aesthetic and functional needs of a place of worship.

The Basilica of the Assumption of St. Mary (Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta) at Gallarate, near Milan, was built in mid 19th century in the town’s centre in the place of two ancient churches, dating back to the 10th and 15th century, respectively. Of the latter, only the 45 metre bell tower remains.

The 19th century Basilica has a single nave, 89 metres long, sided by chapels with frescos and sculptures.

The Basilica is highly valued by the community of Gallarate and recently underwent a large-scale restoration project, curated by architects Paolo Gasparoli and Fabiana Pianezze, thanks to which it was possible to recover the frescos and some decayed interiors, as well as upgrade power systems and make the church more accessible.

The restoration works also included the construction of the main altar by artist Claudio Parmiggiani.

Between two white slabs, the artist created a set of head sculptures in white onyx. The sculptures represent the heads of saints, martyrs and figures of civil and religious history with references to Michelangelo, Bernini, Borromini and Canova. A key element of the rebirth of Gallarate’s Basilica was the upgrading of its lighting system, developed by architect Marco Torri who selected the lighting fixtures designed and manufactured by Disano illuminazione.

The lighting system

“Before the restoration – explains architect Torri – the interiors of the Church seemed very dark and the lighting system was the result of a number of interventions made over the years. Different lights gave a non-homogenous result and they were very expensive in terms of energy consumption.”

The new LED lighting system, with different start-ons, enhanced the width and the solemnity of the Basilica and it emphasized the value of the artworks, starting with its unique altar.

“The lighting project – adds Torri – was made to respond to the demands of the people involved, from the restoration leader, to the superintendence, to the works manager. We also had to meet very specific requests. For example, Parmiggiani’s altar and ambo needed to be given more emphasis so we worked with spotlight profilers that addressed light exclusively on certain elements.”

The Basilica’s new lighting system now features Vision (Fosnova) spotlights in a special version with separate cabling, designed specifically for churches and for art and monuments.

“This type of spotlight – adds Torri – was already well-known and appreciated by the client, i.e. the Dioceses of Milan. These fixtures blend in very well with the architectonic structures. In this case, we placed them on the cornice at 18 metres from the ground, obtaining an even and well distributed light”.

The Vision Big (Fosnova) version with power output of up to 50 W was used at higher heights; the double pivoting allowed extremely precise light pointing. In addition to wide beams for ambient lighting, medium beams were used for direct lighting and narrow beams for accent lighting.

The side chapels are now illuminated with linear LED fixtures of the Micro Liset (Fosnova) series. The reduced dimensions of the fixtures and the high colour rendering of the LED sources help emphasize the value of the sculptures and of the other art treasures cherished in the church.

Overall, it was a complex lighting project with both aesthetic and functional needs.

“The final result – concludes Torri – was appreciated by everyone. Also thanks to Disano’s collaboration, we managed to meet the expectations of those who worked at the Basilica’s restyling. Proper lighting can either enhance or completely change the outcome of a restoration project (e.g. by faking the original colours) and is therefore a crucial element in this type of work.”

  • Posted by Redazione
  • On December 9, 2019
Tags: Basilica of the Assumption of St. Mary, Church, Church lighting, Gallarate