As the first permanent indoor theater of the modern era, the Teatro Olimpico is one of the artistic marvels of Vicenza, as well as a UNESCO world heritage. This is the maximum expression of the work of Andrea Palladio, who was inspired for its creation by the Roman theaters described by Vitruvio.
The historical and cultural importance, the architectural restrictions and the functional complexity make the Olimpico a particularly complex and delicate context in terms of lighting technology; in this scenario, the choice of a technical partner by the Municipality of Vicenza fell on Idealed.
Here are in more detail the interventions we made:
ENTRANCE AND HALLWAY
In the entrance and in the hallway we used the Idealed floodlights mod. SPOT with interchangeable lenses; the lighting of the tulle banners was obtained with the 40° optics, while for the general lighting we chose the 60° optics.
ODEO AND ANTIODEO
From the lighting point of view the rooms of the Odeo and Antiodeo are some of the most delicate rooms, as they are safeguarded by architectural restrictions that prohibit the fixing of any projectors on the ceilings.
In agreement with the Superintendence for archeology, fine arts and landscape for the provinces of Verona, Rovigo and Vicenza (hereinafter Superintendence) we have therefore opted for the installation of electrified tracks; these tracks were suspended by means of a system of steel tie-rods fixed to the supporting beams of the roof, above the truss of the false ceiling.
The use of tracks allowed a more flexible arrangement of the Idealed floodlights mod. SPOT, which also in this case were equipped with different optics.
In particular, projectors with 24° optics and an elliptical diffuser were used for lighting the upper segment of frescoes, which allowed a uniform illumination despite the reduced projection distance.
For the illumination of the lower frescoes, 24° and 40° optics were used instead.
ACCESS GALLERIES TO THE THEATER
In the Galleries connecting the Antiodeo to the theater hall, the existing lighting fixtures have been replaced with Idealed wall-mounted double emission wall lamps mod. MULTI UP & DOWN.
This technical choice was adopted on the basis of the client's needs, which required dimmable lighting – that is to say with variable brightness – according to the different needs of use of the Galleries.
During the guided tour in the ‘Storytelling of the Olympic Theater’ – conceived by Alessandro Baricco with the Holden School – visitors walk through the Galleries holding a tablet on which the flame of a candle is displayed. In this context, the dimming of the wall lamps is at a minimum, in order to recreate the feeling of a bygone era, in which lighting was obtained through the feeble light of oil lamps.
ILLUMINATION OF THE STAGE
Conceived in the 16th century and embellished with statues and wooden scenes, the Stage of the Teatro Olimpico is a unique architectural work of its kind, whose lighting has required a very careful study by our technical staff. Let us examine the different areas in detail:
- Proscenio: the large pre-existing 400W discharge floodlights have been replaced with smaller floodlights, specially realized by Idealed for the needs of the Olympic Theater, in order to improve light intensity and integration with the environment.
Each of the specific set of products made by Idealed consists of 4 28W SPOT projectors with 15° and 24° optics. The color temperature of the LEDs, equal to 3500K, was chosen by the Superintendence.
- The adjustment of the brightness of the projectors (dimmable), the possibility of orienting them and changing their optics gave life to an extremely flexible lighting solution, in line with the theater scene requirements, where balance between precision and uniformity of lighting is essential.
- Stage statues: previously illuminated by projectors with ‘barn doors’, the stage statues are now illuminated by Idealed floodlights mod. VINCENT, equipped with a framer.
First of all, this choice allowed a drastic reduction in the consumption of electricity, together with greater precision in lighting. In particular, the replacement with the VINCENT projectors, equipped with a framing unit, allowed to illuminate the statues in their niches in a much more precise way.
Given the particularity of the scene structure of the Teatro Olimpico, the reduction in size of the projectors themselves was another aspect of primary importance.
In this regard, the small dimensions of the VINCENT projectors have made it possible to position them considerably in the back, so as to hide the projectors from the view of the audience, who can now admire the proscenium arch without perceiving the presence of the lighting bodies.
The Vincent projectors used for the stage have a power of 29W and a color temperature of 3000K – slightly warmer than the 3500K of color temperature of the floodlights that illuminate the façade – in order to adequately enhance the lighting of the statues.
Even in this case, the possibility of using projection lenses with different openings of the light beam allowed to obtain a uniform illumination on the various statues, each of which is located at a different distance from the projection point.
The supporting structures sustaining the projectors used for the statues also house additional VINCENT projectors equipped with a framing unit, designed to illuminate the coffered ceiling “alla ducale” above the stage.
Before the lighting intervention, the ceiling of the stage was not illuminated in any way, and was therefore obscured from the general view of the proscenium.
The new lighting created by Idealed has allowed to enhance this precious surface, illuminating it gently to give it back to the architectural ensemble of the stage.
Thanks to the precision of the VINCENT framers, the ceiling lighting of the stage is now uniform and natural: it is possible to distinguish also the various representations inside the various coffered ceiling “alla ducale”.
Stage lights: an essential part of every theatre performance, the limelight is placed at the front end of the stage and illuminates the actors from the bottom up. However, in the Olympic Theater the stage is not only used for shows, but for conferences or events as well.
As a result, it was necessary to provide a mobile solution that may be installed or removed as needed. The custom solution – designed and created by Idealed – consists of 8 2-meter linear LONGLINE profiles, embedded in metal chassis, which can be installed with a male-female system to create a luminous line up to 16 meters long.
The luminous intensity control of the line has been realized with a special proprietary technology of Idealed.
Scene Scamozziane Lighting: the wooden scenes created by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi in the 16th century are one of the most interesting peculiarities of the Teatro Olimpico, and more than five centuries after their realization they are impressive for the admirable use of perspective.
Before Idealed's intervention, the Scenes were lit by small discharge projectors with a very wide lens; these provided diffused illumination that tended to flatten the visual perception of the stage scenery. In addition, during the performances, the projectors were equipped with color LED bars, in order to simulate the effects of sunrise, sunset and daytime sky. In this context, the main objective was to obtain an optical effect that was less artificial, and therefore able to represent natural light more faithfully.
For this purpose, on the basis of the projector mod. SPOT, Idealed created ad-hoc luminaires with a dynamic white LED instead of a LED with a fixed color temperature.
The customized SPOT projectors allowed to generate a light with a color temperature ranging between 2700K (warm white) and 6500K (cold white), able to faithfully reproduce the light of sunset and daylight.
Moreover, compared to the previously installed projectors, the SPOT projectors have a much lower power: in this way it was possible to increase the number of lamps with the same consumption. From a scenic point of view, this aspect has allowed a much more precise aiming of the projectors, and therefore a better balance in the illumination effects and a better visual depth of the scenes.
Lighting of the statue of Andrea Palladio: above a balustrade located behind the steps on which the audience sits, are the statues of the founders of the Olympic Academy.
One of these statues, in a secluded position, portrays none other than Andrea Palladio – the designer of the Teatro Olimpico. Recognizing the great architect among the other founders is not simple at all: so in agreement with the Superintendent, it was decided to emphasize the lighting of his statue – a dutiful tribute to one of the most illustrious vicentini of all time.
The lighting of the statue of Palladio was obtained using two projectors equipped with zoom and gobo (a special disk used to project contours).
In our case, the projected silhouette corresponds to the silhouette of the statue of Palladio, taken from two different points at the ends of the semi-elliptical balustrade. This technique allowed us to fully illuminate the statue without producing behind it the shadows that would have been generated by a normal projector.
In the same way, the projection from two opposite points allowed to eliminate the shadows on the statue itself, which would be generated by illuminating the statue from a single direction.
Lighting of the statues behind the stalls: the same technique used to illuminate the statue of Palladio was also used to illuminate the nine niches at the back of the stalls, containing the statues of the Academicians. In this case we chose to blur the projection beam, in order to increase the naturalness of the lighting.
Signature of Palladio: following the indications of the Holden School, we used a dedicated projector with a gobo to project Andrea Palladio's signature on the ceiling of the theater. It is a visual detail that reflects the custom by painters of all time of affixing their autograph signature on the canvases.
Illumination of the sky painted on the ceiling: created by Ferdinando Bialetti in 1914, the sky that decorates the ceiling of the Olimpico was one of the elements of the theater that most needed a lighting solution.
Before the intervention, in fact, the sky was partially illuminated – and in a very unevenly way by the same 400W projectors that used to light up the stage. Also in this case, it was necessary to create a customized solution, based on projectors specifically realized for this purpose, which allowed a uniform illumination of the whole area of the sky, as well as a much more pleasant color rendering.
In more detail, Idealed created linear projectors, equipped with asymmetrical optics and installed on supports that allow their orientation; the combination of these two features made it possible to illuminate the sky evenly in the most distant points, concealing the origin of the light source from the eye of the spectator.
Just as for the lamps used for the Scene Scamozziane, the lamps that illuminate the sky in the Teatro Olimpico are also equipped with a dynamic white adjustment, in order to change the color temperature of the light to simulate natural light in the various phases of the day.