Dynamic colour for World Heritage site

Gyz-Galasy Tower, or Maiden Tower, in Baku, Azerbaijan is a significant medieval monument from the 12th century. Its historical function uncertain, the Tower may have been part of an ancient castle wall or even served as a temple for fire worship. Today, Maiden Tower houses a historical museum and serves as a meeting place and pilgrimage site for tourists.

“As an architectural monument, Maiden Tower plays a great role for all of mankind as proven by its presence on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites,” comments Kirill Pavlov, Director of A&T Trade Distribution Company. “Culturally and socially its significance is on par with some of the world’s great treasures. Any lighting solution for Maiden Tower would therefore need to take into consideration its cultural, political and sociological aspects as a contributing element in the country’s growing national self-confidence.”

Quite a responsibility, but one A&T Trade was willing to take on. The Tower is an imposing edifice with a prominent eastward projection and ribbed face-work. At night, however, the structure was deprived of any element of dramatic illumination. A&T Trade was called on to provide the venerable lighting design.

Roman Nikitin, a specialist at Sound, Light & Installation Company, a division of A&T Trade, commented: “The solution made by A&T Trade was to combine dynamic architectural light with a landscape lighting system to work with the territory around the eastern front, which includes two crossing pavements and a lawn. This idea gave an opportunity to bind naturally the ancient artifact – the Tower – with the contemporary urban landscape.”

One of the challenges of the project was building a computer model of the Tower and creating the virtual landscape from the materials that A&T Trade had at their disposal, says A&T Trade Brand Manager Michael Kuznetsov. “Choosing fixture types, placement and installation took much less time. What determined our choice of Martin Architectural Exterior 600, Exterior 600 Compact and the Inground 200 with full CMY colour mixing was their perfect technical characteristics and extraordinary quality of color synthesis.”

The lighting concept involves evenly distributed light on all sides of the Tower and includes several emblematic lighting scenes. The first scene, coloured in warm Azerbaijanian tones of pink, red and orange, symbolises a day in the life of the Maiden Tower. Scene two involves a cycle of changing light that symbolises the emotional feelings of the Tower, reminiscences of glorious and tragic events of which the Tower was witness. The third scene sees a dynamic play of light and shadow on the main facade aimed at highlighting the depth and loftiness of the architecture. The lighting program concludes with a lasting static scene of calm, deep and mysterious tones symbolising night and the dreams of the Tower. The lighting sequences are run from a Martin LightCorder, an easy to operate recorder/playback device.

Simes lighting fixtures were chosen for the static landscape lighting and mark the contours of the building in warm white tones. They also play a role in referencing the starting point for spectators when viewing the dynamic colour scenes.

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