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Caixa Forum Cultural Centre

Located at the foot of Mount Montjuic, the Caixa Forum in Barcelona, one of the best known multifunctional cultural centres in the city, is located in what was originally the Fábrica Casaramona factory. This structure was built between 1909 and 1912 for the Casimir Casaramona y Puigcercós textile company by one of the masters of Catalan modernism, Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Unfortunately the building had a limited life, though, as it was closed in 1919 and then left abandoned for decades. In 1963 ‘La Caixa’ purchased it, and a decade later it was declared a cultural heritage site. Between 1998 and 2002 the building was restored, extended and adapted to its new life in various stages involving different architects, such as Arata Isozaki, who designed the current entrance. The limestone patio is a tribute to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Germany pavilion, constructed for the 1929 International Exhibition, right in front of the factory. The overall result is an intriguing combination of styles and materials that hosts a rich palimpsest of modern and contemporary art, educational activities, conferences, concerts and live performances.

The outdoor lighting system was designed by AIA’s Albert Salazar and reMM’s Michela Mezzavilla with the aim of enhancing the monumental character of the complex, maximising the integration of light and architecture by concealing the luminaires and reducing energy consumption. In fact, the new system consists entirely of LED DALI luminaires connected to a control system that allows frequent scene changes. The brick facades are illuminated with a grazing light effect that highlights the decorative modernist details produced by Linealuce compact recessed luminaires with a wall grazing optic, a colour temperature of 3000K, CRI of 80 and a 27 W power rating. The dramatic effect produced by the Linealuce luminaires is mitigated, on the main facade in Avenida Marqués de Comillas and the elevation overlooking Calle Méxic, by general lighting created by Maxiwoody projectors mounted on the public lampposts. The projectors are fitted with 3000K colour temperature COB LEDs and a medium optic combined with accessories, such as refractors, diffusers and anti-glare filters that modulate the light according to requirements, including those dictated by the position of the devices. The DALI control system allows the ratio between the grazing light of the Linealuces and the general light of the Maxiwoody luminaires to be carefully regulated. The indoor paths, on the other hand, are marked out by vertical lighting produced by Linealuce Mini luminaires that are even smaller than the compact version but still feature a wall grazing optic, and are fitted in the existing fixtures whose traditional lamps have been replaced by LED technology integrated with a refractor and DALI ballast to improve efficiency and light distribution without affecting the architectural lighting of the facades. Lastly, Linealuce compact luminaires have been positioned on the roofs of the naves (with a higher power rating than previous versions - 35 W compared to 12 W - and a wall grazing optic) to produce a grazing light effect on the towers. In the upper part of the towers and on the decorative ceramic elements, this effect is heightened by the light  created by the original modernist luminaires.

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  • Year
  • Client
    Obra Social ‘La Caixa’
  • Architectural project:
    Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1909-1912) - Francisco José Asarta - Roberto Luna - Roberto Brufau - Arata Isozaki (1998-2002)
  • Lighting project:
    Michela Mezzavilla (reMM Lighting Design) - Albert Salazar (AIA Arquitectura i Installacions)
  • Photographer
    Artel Ramirez

Project Quote

"Our main objectives for the Caixa Forum project were to restore the visibility of the modernist building, by emphasizing its appearance and its features; to provide the centre with flexible lighting that is both functional and festive; to have a considerate and integrated approach to lighting design,that minimises the visibility of the luminaires, giving maximum focus to the building. "

Michela Mezzavilla (reMM Lighting Design) Albert Salazar (AIA Arquitectura i Installacions)

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