The historical French city of Nîmes launched a few years ago the construction of a High-Quality Service Bus, all around its boulevards. This large urban project led to a complete renewal of the public spaces (boulevards as well as places).

Of course, lighting boulevards and sidewalks is part of the nocturnal project but not only. The aim is to reveal architectural and landscape elements nearby, while being humble in front of the iconic and historical buildings.

In the Mediterranean environment, water has a significant place. In Nîmes it’s more than ever essential, as it’s also iconic in relation to its history. A graphic scheme around the concept of the reflection of the light upon the water settled down progressively.

The association between a soft and continuous pedestrian lighting, and a more contrasted light, combining darkness and luminosity, in a slight mix, introduces rhythm in the pedestrian areas.

Along the High-Quality Service Bus, boulevards differ from the others of the city. Their architectural quality, the importance of public places and their creative functions deserve a particular attention.

Beyond lighting the streets, the lighting masterplan includes all the pieces of the urban environment, in a nocturnal global concept. It has a strong emphasis on lighting the sidewalks and pedestrian spaces, while revealing the façades on the boulevards. A specific and qualitative light developed around the aquatic theme sublimates an urban and landscape simplicity, whilst providing rhythm and dynamism to the boulevard.

The concept can be summed up in the nocturnal sublimation of the triviality of boulevards.

Technically, the project is very simple: there is one typology for street lighting and another one for landscape lighting. There are not so many supplies, but the assembly is complex, specific and precise. Around the places, architectural projectors (with different optics and powers) are mounted on cylindrical-conical poles. They are taking over the street lighting. The aim is to aim the glance towards the place and not the streets.

All the projectors are fixed on the technical grooves integrated to the poles (street poles as well as landscape ones).

This detail should be thoroughly considered, all the cables are hidden. The assembly of the poles and their lighting fixtures is, indeed, minimalist and unobtrusive.

All street lightings and aquatic theme projectors are furnished with LEDs. All the others are equipped with metal halide lamps (the project and the construction has been initiated quite a long time ago).

The technical issue has been the design and the execution of the aquatic theme projectors, custom-made for the project. It is the achievement of a long research and development between the studio and two lighting manufacturers.

Finally, to emphasise the environmental approach and limit the luminous pollution, all the projectors are pointed downwards. Power has been calculated just to comply with the EN standard given by the client.

In a word, it is evidence that lighting can be sublime and minimal in the urban common space.


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