The Marciana National Library

This famed Venetian library has undergone a transformative lighting project to enhance the architecture and showcase its masterpieces while offering a sustainable and dynamic experience.  

The Marciana Library in Venice, Italy, is regarded as one of the most significant ancient libraries in the world. It safeguards a collection of unparalleled Italian artistry by masters such as Tiziano, Tintoretto, and Veronese. Among its housed treasures resides the awe-inspiring globe known as the Mappamondo of Fra Mauro. This is hailed as the most invaluable cartographic artifact in the world. Often referred to as ‘The Gioconda of Maps’, it exemplifies the library’s profound historical and artistic significance.  

The Marciana Library’s new lighting project aimed to create a deeply emotional and memorable experience for visitors. By combining a museum-scale approach with an emphasis on evoking sensations, the new lighting needed to allow visitors to explore the physical aspects of the library while also experiencing a heightened emotional connection.  

Library-transforming light 

The new lighting scheme designed by Romano Baratta Lighting Studio enhances the architectural beauty of the library, offering a holistic experience. Through automated visual scenes and guided perspectives, visitors can appreciate the intricate sixteenth-century architecture before delving into the masterpieces. Notably, the new lighting reveals the stunning contrast between the vibrant blue of the seas and the stark whiteness of the parchment on the Fra Mauro globe, providing a unique viewing experience that was previously unattainable. 

The greatest challenge in the lighting project was to eliminate shadows and reflections on the art masterpieces, especially considering the simultaneous close proximity of visitors, all while preserving the immersive experience. However, the end result is astonishing.  

The primary objective was to highlight the uniqueness of the Library and its core essence, knowledge, which is symbolized by Tiziano’s depiction of Wisdom on the ceiling vault. The lighting design aimed to use light as a manifestation of Wisdom’s illumination, enlightening the minds of visitors. In line with the belief in the divine origin of light during the sixteenth century, the project sought to create a magical appearance of light. Additionally, the use of dynamic lighting that changes throughout a visit was implemented to transform the museum into an enchanting space rather than a mere location for storing art.  

Realizing artistic vision with Casambi 

Romano Baratta emphasizes the transformative power of a thoughtfully designed lighting system. Beyond simply illuminating artwork, the lighting design can craft a narrative and facilitate a profound experience.  

‘I have been using Casambi for a long time, and it has been my go-to system for almost all of my projects that involve intricate lighting scenarios. The way I approach lighting is obsessive; I strive to have complete control over every detail, minimizing variations, and personally overseeing the commissioning and focusing process on-site. This phase is crucial for me as it breathes life into the projects. Commissioning is akin to performing a meticulously written musical score – it’s a time to verify and enhance the lighting experience.’ He says.  

Casambi serves as the control system for the projectors, indirect lighting, and LED lights in the display cases. A total of 22 scenes, accompanied by three distinct animations, have been designed and are managed by various IR presence sensors. This enables the lighting to adapt to visitors’ movements. Sustainability is a key focus, with a significant reduction in power consumption achieved through both the tech utilized and the implementation of PIR sensors. Where there are no visitors present, a specific lighting scenario is activated, reducing the light output to conserve energy and safeguard the artifacts.  

‘Casambi was a natural choice for me, as it is a comprehensive, versatile, and user-friendly system. It empowers me to bring my creative vision to life through the medium of light. It enables me to craft an immersive experience, driven by attention to detail and evoking emotions. It represents the perfect fusion of technical expertise and artistic creativity, particularly in the context of museum lighting, where lights and their dynamic qualities seamlessly integrate with architectural elements and masterpieces. It’s not just lighting; it’s a way to live and experience light’ says Romano. 

Interested in learning more about Casambi? Drop us a note, and we’ll reach out to you:

The Marciana National Library
Venice, Italy
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana   
Lighting Designer 
Romano Baratta Lighting Studio   
Lighting Supplier 
Forma Lighting   
Commissioning Engineer 
Romano Baratta  
Casambi nodes 

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