Fra Mauro’s globe takes us on a journey into the past while embracing contemporary design elements. It is considered to be the most precious cartographic representation of the pre-modern world and is often thought of as the ‘Mona Lisa of maps’.

A new lighting scheme to illuminate the globe has been designed by Romano Baratta Lighting Studio. The scheme allows visitors to appreciate the artefact in a way never made possible before; with the vision, detail, and particulars of the planisphere dated 1460 AD now able to be fully understood.

The project brings together both the needs of the museum and the emotions of the visitors who want to experience the globe. It allows for visitors to explore what is physically present while also evoking emotion and sensations. The aim is to create a deeply emotional experience for visitors that will long be remembered.

The lighting scheme has been created to allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the history of the piece and be carried away on a journey into the world of knowledge. The lighting physically enhances the architecture of the piece supporting a holistic experience for visitors. Through the automated system of visual scenarios, and perspective guidance through the light itself, visitors can discover and admire the sixteenth century architecture through targeted focuses, before diving into the exploration of the globe.

The new lighting has made it possible to grasp, as never before, how spectacular the blue of the seas are when compared to the stark whiteness of the parchment. No-one has been able to see the Fra Mauro globe in this way before the new lighting made it possible.

One of the most exciting elements of this project is how it has reshaped the understanding of museum lighting. Commonly, historical museums can be old-fashioned, with no attention paid to the enhancement of the emotional aspect of the visit. The lighting often only serves to showcase the exhibited works, and sometimes this can be poorly done.

In this new way of thinking, a museum is not only the works on display, but also a living place with a history that oozes from the architecture. To achieve this, it is necessary to bring out the hidden but intriguing elements of the works and the space itself. A carefully crafted lighting design can create a narrative and profound experience, not just the highlighting of artefacts. It brings together the lighting of the exhibition and the enhancement of the pieces, with the overall atmosphere and experience for visitors.

To achieve this, Fra Mauro’s globe has been illuminated with including direct light projectors, profile projectors and linear luminaires with asymmetrical diffused light. All offer unrivalled optical performance, with LEDs offering very high colour rendering, essential for this application. They are controlled by a Casambi bluetooth system.

The new lighting has given back to the world an enchanting vision of Fra Mauro’s globe.


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