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A new look for the Grand Theatre in Havana

About Project

Charity, Education, Music and Theatre are the four marble personifications that adorn the facade of the Grand Theatre "Alicia Alonso" in Havana. Located in the heart of the city, the Grand Theatre is home to the National Cuban Ballet and Opera and is part of the Galician Centre, a monumental complex built in 1915 by the Belgian architect Paul Belau. In January 2016 this building that was originally designed to host citizens' social activities, was restored with a new lighting system to give the building a sensor of theatrical wonder. From day to night, then, the theatre changes its look completely thanks to a highly appealing interplay of light and shadow. The theatre's architecture has a rich Neo-Baroque style that is packed with details, curving lines and sinuous motifs. There are numerous architectural features that recur around the building and many of these only come to life if the facades are studied with great care. To highlight these contrasts and features, the architectural lighting system has been specifically designed to create a subtle interplay between the different colour temperatures of the luminaires as their LED lamps vary from 2700K warm colour temperatures to 4000K cold colour temperatures. The first step in the design process was to present to members of the Republic of Cuba Ministry of Culture, a number of photo mock-ups of the project to show what the different light effects would look like. This was followed by a number of onsite mock-ups that gave the customer an idea of the results achieved in terms of light quality and effects. The decision to use cold colour temperature spotlights to highlight some of the building's main features, like the four white marble statues and other decorative elements, is quite unusual for Cuba. To create a dynamic sense of harmony and a sense of sharp-edged formal purity, these choices were then combined with warm colour temperatures for the elements in the central section of the building. The choice of products guarantees an optimal colour rendering index and the compact size of the lighting bodies means they were easy to install even on complex surfaces with structural limits. The sharp contrasts between light and shade are created with iPro spotlights. These have been fitted with spot optics to create an uplight effect that outlines the building's silhouette, and medium flood optics with a warm colour temperatures that help features stand out from the general background thanks to a flood of soft light. To enhance the building's sense of verticality, the pilasters that give the architecture its distinctive rhythm, have been lit with 4000 K LED Linealuce Compact luminaires fitted with Wall-Grazing optics. The result is a grazing uplight effect created with a grazer lens that has a microstructured texture on one side to control the initial direct light emission. The light effect obtained is softened on the building's surface to ensure that onlookers can see all the building's features, while also enjoying the light show on the facade.

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  • Year:
  • Client:
    The Republic of Cuba Ministry of Culture
  • Architectural project:
    Paul Belau (1915)
  • Lighting project:
    O.H.C.H. La Habana
  • Photographer:
    Enrique Torres Acevedo

Products Used:

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