VIC TORIA GRANDE FORTRESS, MELILLA 84 DESIGN FILE
VIC TORIA GRANDE FORTRESS, MELILLA
DISEÑO Y CONSULTORÍA DE ILUMINACIÓN
The Victoria Grande Fortress is perched on a rocky
outcrop on the north African coast, guarding the
historic town of Melilla, one of two autonomous
Spanish territories in Africa. Constructed in 1736 as a
defensive bastion, it fell into ruins before finding new
life as a tourist attraction. Now its walls, battlements
and terraces glow against the night sky, its venerable
stone warmed and accented by LED lighting.
The challenge for Spanish design studio Diseño y
Consultoría de Iluminación (DCI) was the same as
for all historic structures: how to reveal the essence
and character of the architecture without spoiling the
view with visible fittings and cables. The answer was
an integrated system of LED luminaires from Linea
Light Group and LED Linear, ingeniously concealed
in the architecture to leave just the effect.
The perimeter of the fort is lit from the moats, the
colour-change LED luminaires wash the walls in
warm tones and fade smoothly up the vertical plane,
suggesting the glow of firelight.
The variations in colour temperature keep the effect
dynamic, with accents picking out features of interest
on the façade.
Elsewhere, linear luminaires under the vaults draw
lines that uplight the ceilings, or create a play of
dramatic backlight visible through openings in
the façade when observed from outside the walls.
Individual features have been exploited to enhance
the effect wherever possible.
The access ramp, for example, doubles as an
integrated lighting feature adding to the drama of
the interior courtyard. Ventilation turrets discovered
during the restoration now work as lanterns, lit from
This is the kind of subtle, opportunistic detail
combining technique and imagination that singled
the project out as the people’s choice in the City
People Light Awards 2015, created by Philips in
partnership with the Lighting Urban Community
International Association, which recognises creative
use of light as a tool for urban regeneration. The
jury commented: ‘This lighting project has a
very interesting approach as it uses an inside out
integration of the lighting systems to architecture.
The lighting increases the architectonic identity of the
fortress in a magnificent way and really emphasises
the architecture of the fortress.’
The installation also won first prize in the Lighting
Designer category of the Codega Prize.
LED lighting is integrated into the
architecture, making the walls,
battlements and terraces glow
against the night sky