Case Study: Collepardo Caves

May 3, 2024 Charlotte Dekker

“I take pride in respecting the heritage within my preservation-based projects. Specifying eldoLED drivers equips me with the flexibility, reliability and flicker-safe capabilities necessary to bring my vision to life and provide a safe and comfortable experience for visitors and wildlife alike.” - Chiara Carucci, Lighting Designer & IALD Associate

Collepardo Caves | Lazio Region (Italy)

The Collepardo Caves are a biodiverse treasure home to multiple species, insects and most importantly—bats. This site of archaeological intrigue is classified as a Site of Community Importance due to the environmental threat and ecological value of Chiroptera (i.e. bats).

The original lighting was too bright, unsustainable and produced harmful ecological barriers. This project was two-fold since it required sustainable lighting that needed to protect the wildlife while attracting and entertaining tourists. The Lazio Region hired Lighting Designer Chiara Carucci to take on this preservation-based project. 


Enhance Life with conscious Lighting Design

Caves are supposed to remain dark so they can protect their wildlife. When the species thrive, it supports the cave’s longevity. The previous lighting caused the harmful growth of lampenflora—which causes biodeterioration and structural changes within the cave.

Chiara worked alongside wildlife and cave experts to ensure her lighting plan would enhance the cave while not harming the species within. She needed programmable lighting that dimmed to low levels without signs of flicker - as its frequency would create a noisy and harmful environment for the bats.

She created a precise lighting scheme that emulated some daylight features and catered to the bats’ sleeping and hibernation schedules. Chiara used the following eldoLED DALI LED drivers (housed remotely) in combination with Dynalite by Philips DALI controls and Platek Full Inox Range luminaires.

Using our SOLOdrive and LINEARdrive LED drivers resulted in flicker-safe, subtle lighting that adjusts according to the visited area and the amount of natural light entering the cave—focusing on distance, low intensity and total time of operations. Not only did her efforts yield 97% energy savings because of a perfect combination of design and programming, it also eliminated the lampenflora. Creating a better quality of life for the cave and its inhabitants.


Instill Wonder through Placement 

There was a key message Chiara wanted to relay in the lighting—respect the heritage. The lighting had to showcase the raw majesty and mystifying elements within the Collepardo Caves to create excitement for visitors. Chiara also needed the lighting to play on perception while remaining realistic with the spatial constraints. This included the available space for the fixtures and for those visiting the caves.

Bringing her vision to life involved multiple lighting tests using our SOLOdrive and LINEARdrive LED drivers with Dynalite by Philips controls, luminaires from Planet Lighting and Platek. The lighting scheme incorporated careful lighting placement in the landslides and formerly occupied areas. She also implemented strategic lighting design tools, such as combining specific light beams, color temperature and accessories for maximizing visitor and wildlife comfort.

Chiara’s reliable lighting design within the strategic locations produced depth and dimensionality, amplified the natural beauty of the caves and communicated the value of the heritage. Additionally, the lighting inspired people to look beyond and empowered them to revive their adventurous spirit. Providing visitors with an immersive experience and share-worthy stories for their friends and family.

With our LED drivers, Chiara achieved her lighting goals of engaging visitors, respecting the heritage and protecting the wildlife. Her outstanding work also received recognition in the August/September 2021 edition of arc magazine.

Photography: Jansin & Hammarling

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