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Great Hall bathed in soft light – Musée Bourdelle Paris

Antoine Bourdelle - along with Auguste Rodin - is one of the pioneers of 20th century monumental sculpture. The Musée Bourdelle in Paris has recently been given a lighting update with LED technology using ERCO’s photometric precision to enhance the dynamic style of Bourdelle’s sculptures for optimised three-dimensionality.

Tucked away on a quiet street near, and yet so far from, the bustling Gare Montparnasse in Paris, the Musée Antoine Bourdelle is an unexpected oasis of tranquillity and meditation that is reminiscent of a modern ancient temple. This is where Antoine Bourdelle, a pioneer of 20th century monumental sculpture, lived and worked from 1884 until 1929. Bourdelle's work was frequently inspired by mythological themes, which he captured in powerful and dynamic sculptures using materials such as plaster, bronze or marble. The structures on the premises are from a number of different periods. Once the home and studio of Bourdelle, the buildings originating from the 19th century were turned into a museum. The “Great Hall” was built by architect Henri Gautruche to mark the 100th anniversary of Bourdelle’s birth, whilst the extension to the museum was added in 1992, designed by architect and Pritzker Prize winner Christian de Portzamparc.

Recent renovations of the Musée Bourdelle included an upgrade of the lighting system with LED technology. The lighting inside the museum was optimised for maximum visual comfort with lighting tools from the ERCO Light Board, Logotec, Parscan and Pollux ranges. Designed to overcome great distances, the luminaires bathe the Great Hall in superbly uniform and glare-free light across an impressive height of 10m, allowing visitors to look at the monumental sculptures from different angles. Using various lenses and different beam characteristics as well as two light colours with 3,000K and 4,000K, the sculptures are illuminated with photometric precision, accentuating their surfaces in varying nuances depending on the texture.
The Musée Bourdelle has several landscaped gardens with lawns, bushes and trees that provide a natural setting for Bourdelle’s bronze sculptures. Embellished with a green patina, the sculptures blend effortlessly with the lush vegetation. The artwork as well as selected garden features are illuminated effectively from different angles using outdoor luminaires of the ERCO Grasshopper range with neutral and warm white light. Designed with a compact housing, the lighting tools remain virtually invisible, whilst precise light distributions eliminate glare for the visitors and neighbours, so as not to detract from the enjoyment of the sculptures as well as the gardens and night sky.

Project data

Project: Musée Bourdelle, Paris / France
Architect: DBLH Architects, Paris / France
Lighting designer: Julia Kravtsova, Vyara Stefanova, Paris / France
Products: Grasshopper, Light Board, Logotec, Parscan, Pollux
Photo credit: ERCO GmbH,, Photo: Edgar Zippel

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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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