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Experiencing Notre Dame de Paris in New Light


Maria Lorena Lehman


Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

‍Notre Dame de Paris Interior | Image Courtesy of Philips

The beautiful Notre Dame de Paris has been recently merged with new Philips lighting technologies. In fact, its interior has been entirely augmented with state-of-the-art LED lighting that allows for Notre Dame to be experienced anew.

Of course, the lighting design for this incredible project is a balancing act between highlighting the features of Notre Dame while still being true to the original architecture.

“Philips is very proud to have placed its know-how and technology at the service of this splendid project. For us the challenge was to devise effective lighting while respecting the authenticity of this monument, which attracts several million visitors every year. The lighting really had to enhance the beauty of the site without at any time overwhelming it”, says Benjamin Azoulay, General Manager of Philips Lighting France.

As you can see in the image below, the layered detailing within Notre Dame really becomes clear, as space unfolds from one area to the next.

‍Notre Dame de Paris Architectural Details Layered in Light | Image Courtesy of Philips

Similarly, the rose windows within Notre Dame are accentuated with light that allows for the glass to appear as if it is radiating — without disturbing views of the exterior. Such lighting appears to accentuate and make visible the many details and textures of Notre Dame architecture, a wonderful historical masterpiece.

‍Notre Dame de Paris Rose Window Radiating Light | Image Courtesy of Philips

A very interesting part of this project is how this new lighting allows for a dynamic orchestration of the space — very important for the many different types of events that take place within this architecture. You see, the lighting can adjust to different events taking place, time of day or season.

“Specifically designed by Benoit Ferré, the resident bishop’s architect (European Architecture Company, EUROGIP), the major innovation of this project is the creation of a spinal column, horizontal, flexible and easily accessible. This technical column extends for three hundred meters, the length of the triforium.”
‍Notre Dame de Paris Light Orchestration | Image Courtesy of Philips

Overall, this project accomplishes a very worthwhile goal: to highlight the beauty and experience of Notre Dame de Paris by fusing the 13th century with the 21st century. From this, new experience can be born — allowing for new ways of seeing a historic masterpiece.

Project Team:

Project owner: Association Maurice de Sully

Delegated project owner: Rector Monseigneur Patrick Jacquin

Chief architect: Benjamin Mouton

Main contractor: Benoît Ferré, architect of European Architecture Company EUROGIP

Lighting designer: Armand Zadikian


what members are saying...
Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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