Work on the Quirinale palace began in 1574 with the renovation of the villa then owned by Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII, who wanted to build a papal residence on the hill. The works were completed under the pontificate of Clement XII (1730-1740); after the Napoleonic age, the building became in 1879 the residence of the kings of Italy and in 1948 the Presidential Palace for the newborn Italian Republic. Until October 2014 the Quirinale was the largest presidential palace in the world.
The Corazzieri Hall is the most solemn room in the palace, the seat of many important ceremonies and audiences of the Head of State. The majestic wooden ceiling in the centre has gold decorations on a blue background by Carlo Maderno, with the royal coat of arms installed in 1870 and the marble floor in several colours reflecting the geometric design. The marble portals and the monumental double doorway to the Pauline Chapel also date back to the 17th century. The room is entirely decorated with frescoes by Annibale Duranti. The eighteenth-century tapestry wallpaper covering the walls is part of two distinct series: the first, French, is dedicated to the Stories of Psyche, while the other, partly French and partly Neapolitan, illustrates the events of Don Quixote.
The architectural lighting design by Piero Castiglioni is an integral part of the overall renovation of the room, which was curated in 1997 Gae Aulenti. The architect of light and the lady of architecture collaborate on many prestigious projects, including the Musée d’Orsay. The intervention had to combine respect for the considerable architectural and artistic prestige of the environment with the need to adapt the systems to the needs imposed by the increasing opportunities for use of the room. It was necessary to give back the best perception of the frescoes and the decorations of the wooden ceiling, enhanced by the new leather covering of the walls, and at the same time to create a technologically advanced system, easy to manage, flexible in the possibilities of use. Hence the choice to set up two lighting systems: one fixed one inserted in the perimeter frame for the lighting of the walls and ceiling, the other consisting of six floor fixtures to be placed during conferences or special events. Not only are the luminaires placed in the frame totally hidden from view, but the appropriate intersection of the pointing directions conceal the origin of the emission beams, guaranteeing complete homogeneity in the lighting of the frescoed walls and ceiling. The height of the floor-standing luminaires, whose finish reproduces the colour of the walls, allows adequate illumination of both the stalls and the conference counter in total absence of glare and in continuity with the overall image of the installation. Particular attention has been paid to the lighting levels on the vertical planes, for the visual comfort of the speakers and the audience and in view of the possibility of television filming.
Architect Piero Castiglioni has realized other projects with highly binding historical-architectural situations such as The Months Hall Schifanoia Palace in Ferrara.
Orsay Museum where architecture became a big lighting device, the reflections of light bulbs with walls and ceilings create a uniform light without shadows. Groups of projectors in Grassi Palace recall a small football field. Here was born a new type of lighting device. Reflector lamps and articulated support gives life at the "Cestello". Spasa na Krovi is a perfection of Mantova project. Light beams aggregation allow the device size reduction and the dispersion light control.