Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, in the Dordogne Valley, is a Plus Beau Village, officially one of the prettiest villages in France and was voted Favourite Village of the French a few years. It’s not hard to see why.
Perched on top of magnificent limestone cliffs over the Lot River, the village consists entirely of architecture from the Middle Ages and almost all the medieval half-timbered houses are unique and classified buildings.
Corbelled houses with facades and sloping terracotta roofs are accessible by narrow winding streets that add even more charm to the village. The many mullioned, diamond-shaped, stained-glass windows enhance its authenticity and heritage.
Lighting to reconcile legacy and modern living
The local authorities are very conscious of reconciling conservation and tourism and regularly carry out work to preserve the village. In 2015, they decided to restore and improve the public lighting to enhance the nocturnal comfort of residents and tourists.
A multi-disciplinary team led by the lighting designer, Philippe Guieu, architects, urban planners, the local council and energy supplier, Fédération Départementale d’Energies du Lot was set-up.
Heritage LED regeneration
Schréder STUDIO proposed the NAJACOISE luminaire fitted with a specially designed mask to reflect the unique identity of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, respect the aesthetic requirements and harmoniously blend into the village landscape.
Designed to integrates the architectural details of the village, the mask is perforated with diamond-shaped patterns that emit light to reveal depth and space. The patterns have been carefully positioned to diffuse the light gradually. Indeed, the mask has more perforations in the lower half of the luminaire spaces to allow the light to gradually fade upwards.
The circular form with diamond-shaped patterns, the shifts in depth and space, the materials, texture and colour of the luminaire, all unite to ensure a harmonious integration into the landscape, both by day and by night.
The mask reflects the identity of the village, it was important not to distort the heritage. Adjustments were made to several components of the lanterns as the project progressed.
A striking mix of old and new
The lanterns are equipped with warm white (2700K) LEDs to highlight the typical Lot stone and magnify its warmth. They are installed with an old-fashioned style bracket that mirrors the traditionally predominant supports of bygone times.
This collaboration between the different partners trades has enabled the village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie to regenerate life in the community after dark while remaining faithful to the character of this extraordinary setting.
It demonstrates that modern lighting technology can add to the quality of life, anchor thriving communities and sustain cultural heritage.