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Italy | Caltagirone | S. Maria del Monte Stairway

The imposing staircase of Santa Maria del Monte (142 steps and a difference in height of more than 40 metres), built in the 17th century to fulfil an important urban planning function: to connect the upper and lower parts of the city. The current majolica covering of the risers and the lava stone slabs on the treads date back to 1954: 142 bands of tiles, all different, decorated with designs typical of the Caltagirone ceramic tradition and dating from Sicilian, Arab, Norman and Spanish motifs. The theme is therefore very special: a staircase, a road that is also a wall, an uphill monument, but also a place to stand step by step, an architectural path connecting earth to sky. To celebrate the feast of St. James, patron saint of Caltagirone, on 24 and 25 July the steps are transformed into an authentic tapestry of lights: thousands of small coloured paper lamps containing a small oil lantern are placed on the steps and lit in the evening to form huge patterns, each time different according to the occasion. On other days of the year the steps of S. Maria del Monte had no night lighting to reveal their architectural beauty. The main objective of the lighting project is to return the staircase to the city with lighting that is not scenographic but based on quality and perception rather than on parameters linked to regulations or functional criteria. This quality of lighting was achieved by focusing on a deliberately non-uniform effect with a clear alternation of light and shadow. The elimination of glare along the main pathway from bottom to top is also fundamental, achieved by the appropriate orientation of the projectors, which are rotated slightly in the direction of the slope, also making it possible to have a clear reading of the tile strips without shadows or reflections. The small luminaires are placed in positions which are difficult to see both during the day and at night. Architect Piero Castiglioni’s architectural lighting design project as an opportunity for a qualitative approach to the subject of urban lighting.


Project:
Lighting Design Piero Castiglioni

Collaborations:
Studio Triskeles

Photo  Courtesy:
Piero Castiglioni

Year:
2002


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Detail of the lighting system used
View of the ceiling glass windows with lighting
Outdoor spaces with architectural lighting
A night view of the illuminated building
View of the rooms and the exhibition path
Deputies with the lighting used
View of the complex with night lighting
The stage of the Teatro Comunale of Florence
The works of art inside the illuminated Papal Stables
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci with the lighting used
Full view of the illuminated theater
Full view of the Cultural Center building
One of the rooms with the works on display and the lighting fixtures
Overall view of the Banca Lombarda building in Brescia
Overall view of the central courtyard of the service center
Detail of the illuminated facade of the Dior building
Front view of the Lingotto building in Turin
Front view of the main entrance facade
View from the outside of the building and the facades
Overall view of the concert hall
The illuminated hall of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum
Exterior view of the museum building
View of the museum from the water
Front view of the Il Sole 24 Ore Seat building
The lighting fixtures installed on the ceiling
Viktor & Rolf Showroom inside the showroom
Overall view of a room with ceiling lights
Another central view of the illuminated hall of Palazzo Marino
The historic center of Siena illuminated
The lighting of the Salone delle Feste at the Quirinale
The illuminated waiting canopies
Entrance to the exhibition set up of Gianni Versace
Front view of the windows of the picture gallery
Il Porto Antico di Genova in una vista notturna
Detail of the lighting of the internal courtyard
Night view of the outline of the city of Mantua
Illuminated night view of the entrance courtyard
Night view of Malba - Costantini Foundation illuminated
Overall view of the Hall
Central view of the illuminated Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
The night lighting of the Sanctuary
Night view of the Italcementi Research Center
Night view of Porta Nuova Garibaldi Repubblica complex
St. Petersburg Spasa na Krovi outdoor lighting - master
Venice Grassi Palace outdoor night view- master
Museo d'Orsay Paris frontal view - master
Detail of the lighting system used
View of the ceiling glass windows with lighting
Outdoor spaces with architectural lighting
A night view of the illuminated building
View of the rooms and the exhibition path
Deputies with the lighting used
View of the complex with night lighting
The stage of the Teatro Comunale of Florence
The works of art inside the illuminated Papal Stables
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci with the lighting used
Full view of the illuminated theater
Full view of the Cultural Center building
One of the rooms with the works on display and the lighting fixtures
Overall view of the Banca Lombarda building in Brescia
Overall view of the central courtyard of the service center
Detail of the illuminated facade of the Dior building
Front view of the Lingotto building in Turin
Front view of the main entrance facade
View from the outside of the building and the facades
Overall view of the concert hall
The illuminated hall of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum
Exterior view of the museum building
View of the museum from the water
Front view of the Il Sole 24 Ore Seat building
The lighting fixtures installed on the ceiling
Viktor & Rolf Showroom inside the showroom
Overall view of a room with ceiling lights
Another central view of the illuminated hall of Palazzo Marino
The historic center of Siena illuminated
The lighting of the Salone delle Feste at the Quirinale
The illuminated waiting canopies
Entrance to the exhibition set up of Gianni Versace
Front view of the windows of the picture gallery
Il Porto Antico di Genova in una vista notturna
Detail of the lighting of the internal courtyard
Night view of the outline of the city of Mantua
Illuminated night view of the entrance courtyard
Night view of Malba - Costantini Foundation illuminated
Overall view of the Hall
Central view of the illuminated Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
The night lighting of the Sanctuary
Night view of the Italcementi Research Center
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