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ERCO at the new Fondazione Prada, Milan

ERCO lighting tools feature in one of the most dramatic museum projects this year: The lighting supplied by ERCO for the exhibition and outdoor areas of the new Fondazione Prada in Milan demonstrates how sophisticated lighting solutions are implemented efficiently in visionary museums.

The expansive complex, designed by Dutch star architect and Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Rem Koolhaas (OMA, Rotterdam), arose from the transformation of a distillery in the south of Milan dating back to around 1910. The exteriors and the exhibition spaces of the new Fondazione Prada are equipped with a range of ERCO LED lighting tools selected by the cultural foundation spearheaded by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli with consistent support from ERCO, selected due to many years of experience in museum lighting. The flexible ERCO LED lighting tools offer the ideal solution for the varied and complex lighting tasks in a museum context - with the not untypical combination of uniform, glare-free ambient lighting and exact accent lighting for the prized exhibits.

Ancient bronzes and marble sculptures in an avant-garde ambience

In the “Podium” that forms the central museum section of the new Fondazione Prada with glass façades on three sides, Parscan spotlights, Optec contour spotlights and Pantrac lens wallwashers are combined to deliver a superb combination of highly professional LED lighting tools. Parscan 12 W with Spherolit lens with spot and flood distributions complement Parscan 4 W with narrow spots to illuminate and accentuate the ancient masterpieces for the opening exhibition, bringing out even the finest details of the bronzes and marble sculptures in sharp contours for a three-dimensional effect delivered with absolute photometric precision. On the first level of the “Podium”, Pantrac LED lens wallwashers 24 W, 4000 K, illuminate the wall surfaces very uniformly in neutral white light resembling daylight - a lighting concept that produces a wide and spacious impression of the room.

Scenic light for a compact setting dressed in a gold mantle of art

The permanent exhibition in the “Haunted House”, a renovated four-level section of the old distillery designed by architect Rem Koolhaas with gold leaf cladding, displays masterpieces from the Fondazione Prada collection. Parscan spotlights 24 W used here with wide flood distribution achieve uniform ambient lighting in the exhibition spaces, whereas Parscan 12 W with spot and flood lenses allow the exhibits to come to the foreground of attention. The minimalist design of the black Parscan spotlights blends unobtrusively into the structural steel work of the existing building, thereby directing the focus entirely onto the illuminated exhibits. The flanking picture galleries, finally, feature Parscan spotlights 12 W and lens wallwashers 12 W for perfectly uniform illumination of the paintings on the wall, emphasising their expressive colours.

ERCO lighting tools illuminate the new Fondazione Prada inside and out

Where ERCO LED lighting tools in the exhibition spaces are used with neutral white light, the exterior sections between the individual buildings of the complex are illuminated using warm white light. Beamer projectors in 36 W with flood and wide flood distributions set off the paved pathways, while the special outdoor floodlights of the Lightscan range provide lighting for the ground around the entrance areas. Excellent glare control of the ERCO outdoor luminaires ensures a high level of visual comfort and makes certain that the light shines only, and precisely, where it is needed.

Project data

Project: Fondazione Prada, Milan / Italy
Architecture: OMA, Rotterdam / Netherlands (Rem Koolhaas, Chris van Duijn)
Scenography: Ducks Sceno, Villeurbanne / France
Lighting design: Lucas Goy, les éclaireurs, Lyon / France
Completion: 2015
Products: Beamer, Lightscan, Optec, Pantrac, Parscan
Photo credits: ERCO GmbH,, photo: Dirk Vogel

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About ERCO

The ERCO Light Factory in Lüdenscheid is a leading international specialist in architectural lighting using LED technology. The family business, founded in 1934, now operates as a global player with over 60 subsidiaries, branches and agencies in over 40 countries worldwide. Since 2015 ERCO's portfolio has been 100% LED. Inspired by "light digital" as its leitmotif, ERCO in Lüdenscheid develops, designs and produces digital luminaires with focus on photometrics, electronics and design. Working closely with architects, lighting designers and engineers, ERCO develops lighting tools used primarily for applications in the following fields: Work, Shop, Culture, Community, Hospitality, Living, Public and Contemplation. ERCO understands digital light as the fourth dimension of architecture - providing highly precise and efficient lighting solutions to support creative designers in turning their visions into reality.
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