Robe for Temple of Divine Providence

Robe Actor 6 and PARFect 100 LED fixtures are installed as part of the architectural lighting at the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw Poland, one of the most significant Roman Catholic buildings in the country.

The Temple is in the final throes of construction bringing to fruition an idea that was first inspired in 1791 … shortly after the adoption of Poland’s first constitution.

The building project got properly underway in the trendy developing Wilanów district in the south of the Polish capital in 2002 … designed by architects Wojciech and Lech Szymborski.

Its capacious interiors – based on an 84 metre square base with four entrances – and imposing 60 metres high reinforced concrete columns that form the nave, culminate in a rotunda gallery and a central glass dome at the top, all making high visual impact and defining the space.

The pale coloured render of the columns and other interior features is perfect for lighting, so the Temple’s management company, The Centre of Divine Providence, reached out to lighting specialists Prolight Sp. z o.o. to design and specify a scheme that would transform a somewhat cold and austere interior … into a dynamic, warm and interesting space.

Lighting was seen as an ideal way to reflect the changes in the church calendar and shift the mood accordingly.

In addition to being an important place of worship and a national religious symbol, cutting edge acoustic treatment makes the 3000 capacity Temple ideal for concerts, choral and orchestral recitals and televised music events, so it is a truly multi-purpose venue.

It also contains a museum dedicated to Pope John Paul II and Stefan Wyszyński leader of the Catholic Church under Communist rule and a Pantheon of Great Poles.

Prolight’s Tomasz Adamski created the lighting design which includes a substantial quality of DMX controlled LED fixtures, and his colleagues Michal Kaczmarek and Rafal Rzeczkowski helped co-ordinate the installation process and the team.

The 16 x Actor 6s – a static version of Robe’s legendary LEDWash 600 – are installed on special outrigging brackets so they can illuminate a circular rotunda at the lower apex of the dome.

They were chosen for their robustness and reliability. Being placed in a position that it is not easily accessible, they needed fixtures that were virtually guaranteed to keep going and need minimal maintenance.

Above these, the 80 x PARfects are installed at the base of the curved dome walls – which stretch upwards for 60 metres to the top of the glass dome, complete with alternating variable height windows.

For lighting this they needed fixtures with great colours and plenty of intensity allowing different areas of the dome to be delineated, picking out the detail of the overall design.

“The PARFects are doing a fantastic job of lighting the walls in rich and beautiful colours,” comments Michal.

The challenges of the installation were many … including working at height! There were restrictions on touching most parts of the walls with any sort of hardware, and data and power cable routing was also galvanising!

A series of LED colour changers were also installed at the base of the 26 arched columns as part of the scheme, so different surfaces in the Temple can be illuminated, bringing the environment alive with depth, character and a real sense of occasion.

All lighting is run through a Pharos controller which can be accessed remotely via iPad.

Two hundred and twenty four years after the first cornerstone of the current Temple building was laid, a Russian invasion and two World Wars later, an inaugural Mass was celebrated, attended by Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and President Andrzej Duda in a high profile event.

Since then it has been used for many concerts and events, and the lighting is making a big difference to the ambience and feel of this powerfully elegant and unique architecture.

Photos by Louise Stickland