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Lighting Beirut Architecture


As part of its continuous initiative to develop Beirut's city centre urban environment, Solidere launches Lighting Beirut Architecture as the first project to illuminate a large urban area using the concept of permanent image projection. On 8 June 18, 2011, a new lighting concept for the Beirut urban scene will reveal the architecture of the historic core by night.

The new technology captures and exposes the architectural value of heritage and contemporary buildings in the dark. Initially used to light stage sets, the concept goes beyond the theater to outline architectural details. The technique retraces with light the existing façade features of selected buildings. The result is a depiction that accurately matches the facade, with high definition design patterns. Unlike conventional lighting, fixtures are placed on rooftops facing lit buildings, therefore safeguarding masonry facades that are not initially conceived for integrated lighting system. Architectural legacy remains unspoiled.
Inspired by the Heritage Trail, the project chose illuminates, as a first contribution, some of the key buildings in historic Beirut. Visitors are invited to explore Bab Idriss, the western gateway to the capital’s historical core. They are also encouraged to wander down to the old city wall located in the Souks today, and then North to Trablous Street where the L’Orient – Le Jour building still stands. From there, they can navigate their way further east and explore Foch and Allenby streets, a remnant of French city planning from the 1920’s. Both streets lead to lit intersections at their southern end on Weygand Street, where Beirut Municipality stands.
Revealing a new and permanent night image comes hand in hand with promoting a better environment. Envisioned as a sustainable solution, optimal coverage for each projector reduces energy consumption. It significantly uses less electrical power than conventional lighting systems that produce similar results. No light goes to waste, and the city’s dark sky is preserved.
The concept of image projection offers also versatility. Design possibilities are unlimited, giving various designers and artists the chance to participate in lighting the city. Using the already fixed lighting equipment, all that needs to be replaced is the 145mm glass disk in front of projector lens that portrays the projected image. Ultimately, Lighting Beirut Architecture project aims to turn the city center into a lively platform for creative expression, transforming the city center into an arena for cultural experimentation with light.
The team
Solidere, the Lebanese Company for the Development and Reconstruction of Beirut Central District initiated, planned and financed the project. The lighting concept and gobo design was proposed by Light Cibles [], a French-based design studio specialized in lighting design and creation of optimal solutions for historic buildings and urban contexts. Their team undertook site surveys jointly with DIAP [], another firm based in Paris and dedicated for image projection and Multimedia. DIAP introduced a new optical concept of high definition gobo projector required for the project, as well as the building survey process. Mamari Frères (MFR) [], Lebanese lighting solution providers, were commissioned to find the most appropriate technical solution. Along with their partners Italian manufacturers Lampo [], they conceived and developed a projector that went beyond initial technical specifications. Assembled by hand, the outdoor projector is one of the first to bear all weather conditions year-long, allowing the project to operate permanently. The innovative optical system provides exceptional luminosity, design definition accuracy, and low-cost maintenance.
Lighting Beirut Architecture changes Beirut nightscape and gives it a night image unseen before, one that hopes to contribute to the capital’s urban development.


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