The construction of the Neo-Romanesque Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Melilla began in December 1901 but was not inaugurated until 19 May 1918. The building has a main body with a basilica floor plan and a transept, distributing the access towards the central and side apses. The central nave has a barrel vault with transversal arches, and the side naves have groin vaults. 

The renovation of the church’s electrical and lighting installations was undertaken in 2019 prompted by the granting of aid by the Autonomous City of Melilla. As an architect and project manager, José Antonio Fernández of Chacel 8 Arquitectura brought together several professionals for the drafting of the project and project management. Among them was, Javier Górriz from the DCI studio, for the new Lighting Design. Together they formed a multidisciplinary team to create a comprehensive church lighting renovation.

The temple’s original lighting comprised obsolete light sources based mainly on metal halides, fluorescence and other discharge lamps, with high dazzle rates, high maintenance costs and high electricity consumption. The new lighting design sought to turn artificial lighting into an element through which users or visitors can reinterpret the church’s architecture, feeling attracted by the light to contemplate the different architectural landmarks. Care has been taken to ensure the lighting is integrated into the architecture bringing out the effect of the light while concealing its sources. When the light source itself is inevitably visible within the observer’s visual field, the luminaries have been equipped with anti-glare slats that improve visual comfort. The idea is to use light as if it were a brush to draw the different architectural lines, seeking the play of light and shadow, and thus emphasize any small details that could go unnoticed with the exclusive use of natural light. With a lighting control system based on Bluetooth technology, we can create different lighting scenes depending on the needs of the temple and control the lighting in any part of the temple from mobile devices or tablets and wireless button interfaces.

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