Florence was home to the first secular healthcare facility in the world dedicated to caring for abandoned babies and children. Known as Ospedale degli Innocenti - or hospital of the innocents - it was revamped by Ipostudio after the latter won an architectural competition run by the institution in 2008. The redone complex has been turned into a cradle of art, architecture and the history of children, with a visitors’ route that explores the 1,456 sq.m across three floors. It also has a 1,655 sq.m space for temporary events, and educational and artistic activities. The presence of key remnants of the past (notably, a Renaissance portico by Filippo Brunelleschi and about 80 artworks by famed artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Bartolomeo di Giovanni, Piero di Cosimo, Neri di Bicci, Luca and Andrea della Robbia, and Giovanni del Biondo) and the personal accounts of the “nocentini” (as the children were called) meant it was essential to have a lighting project that added to this exploration of the institute’s history. Ipostudio turned to lighting designer Fulvio Baldeschi and Zumtobel, especially because of the company’s established expertise in developing sustainable, customized lighting solutions. The lighting in the refurbished museum is a far cry from the previous system, which used harsh 3000 K halogen lighting. In the revamped museum, LED lighting is used: the Microtools modular system, to create the correct, striking ambiance without excessive structural elements, and Arcos downlights, for focal points. The switch to LEDs also cut energy costs by 85% and increased the lifecycle of each light source (the old 2,000 hours for halogen rose to 50,000 hours for the LEDs). These lights also provide true color rendering in the white scale - a property that can produce optimal results in expert hands. This was especially important in the picture gallery and, above all, in the room that houses the Ghirlandaio’s Adoration of the Magi. Here, two tones of white were chosen for the lighting and then gently mixed to create the look of a large monocular that focuses on and exalts the painting. The band of light starts at the top with a cooler gradient, which fits well with the blue of the sky, and then grows more intense as it moves towards the center, with the Virgin Mary and Child, the Magi and the onlookers, where the painting itself has brighter colors.
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