The city of Ghent lies nestled midway between Bruges and Brussels in Flemish Belgium. Much like many cities along the central northern coast of Europe, Ghent features a well-preserved glimpse into the middle ages, with much of its medieval architecture still intact and part of the today’s functioning city, such as Saint Bavo Cathedral, which was consecrated all the way back in 942 A.D. and Gravensteen, a castle so medieval it has a partial moat, a dungeon, and a guillotine.
In other words, it was one of the most awesome places on the planet to hold a light festival.
Ghent hosted Lichtfestival 2012 in January. Projectors tossed patterns on medieval churches, old city center homes and buildings with iconic Dutch crow-stepped gables, and the ornate belfry in the city square. Lights in vivid colors danced across the carefully carved brick and stone exteriors of UNESCO World Heritage sites to dramatic music old and new. Laser lights bounced through the city’s river ways and cobble stone streets.
The crowning glory of the festival was a 91-foot tall Cathedral fashioned out of over 55,000 LED lights. Europeans love them some cathedrals, so it was a perfect tip of the hat to old-school houses of worship combined with the surreal glitz and glamour that was only slightly more serious than a Las Vegas wedding chapel. The glowing cathedral consists of a metal armature with carefully-placed colorful LEDs that resemble the stained glass that artisans have labored over for thousands of years in churches, as well as highlighted the ominous stature of the cathedrals that dare to mingle with the clouds as big to possibly reach God himself. Festival goers walked underneath the cathedral, which was essentially a sidewalk canopy.
Luminarie De Cagna is the company responsible for the glowing monstrosity. The company regularly outdoes itself with massive projects involving LEDs, like this Eiffel tower model they built up just to show Paris what they could do to their icon given the opportunity.
There really is no limit what you can do with this energy-efficient lighting.