France - From water tower to urban beacon: renovation through light

Built in a urban park overlooking the Lesdiguières bridge, the water tower of Pont-de-Claix is a monumental landmark in the historical arrondissement of Grenoble. With a height of 27 meters and a capacity of 500 m3, this former water tower used to be the centerpiece of a major project for the supply and distribution of drinking water in the urban area of Pont-de-Claix in the years between the two world wars. Today permanently closed, it hosts the warning siren and relay antennas of a national mobile telecommunication network.

A recent project of the local municipality wanted to regain the environmental attractiveness and landscape significance of this neglected building, highlighting its features through an innovating aesthetic and functional concept. As a result of a multilevel competition, the winning project aimed at transforming the ex-water tower into an urban lighthouse, architecturally renovating its structure while respecting both its prestigious location within a national heritage area and its remarkable technical function.

Based on the guidelines of the architectural agency Agence à Trois and the planning office Alp’Etudes, the water tower restoration began in April 2013: the upper cornice was functionally revamped, the dome and walls renovated and freshly painted in soft colours according to the French building construction rules. But it was the new lighting scheme, successfully brought about by L’Agence Lumière, to deliver a new essence to the tower: the simple installation (supervised by the professional companies Eclairage Service and Music Plus based in Isère) in its upper part of a unit of GLOBE MK2 4000, a single beam moving head searchlight by GRIVEN, transformed it from decayed water tower into a newborn urban lighthouse.

 “GLOBE MK2 2000 delivers a powerful, panoramic beam of light, which, with a 360° rotation, scans the sky of Pont-de-Claix and the neighbouring areas. Installed upside down within the top of the former water tower, this ingenious device delivers a completely new character to the building, transforming it into an unconventional earth lighthouse” assert the lighting designers Régis Clouzet and Sylvain Bresson of L’Agence Lumière, the company in charge of the lighting project. Now visible within a 4 kilometer range, the monument, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2011, has been offering every night since July 13 a dynamic illumination scheme that enhances its volume with a mix of lighting emotions.

GLOBE MK2 4000 is a single beam moving head searchlight that uses a flicker free powerful 4000W lamp with precision electro-shaped nickel rhodium coated reflector to give a beam which can be electronically adjusted between 2.2° and 13° angles. Reinforced aluminium and galvanized steel body design allows for whichever installation method, upside down, too, however the base unit features brake locking wheels and screw jacks for steady floor-mounted installations, while transit locks are provided for the pan and tilt movement. All digital functions, including frost soft edge effect, blackout, mechanical dimmer, stand-by mode and an enhanced electronic strobe feature can be easily set from a remote DMX512 controller, while the selection of each available option is accessible through the user friendly onboard display. The extraordinary GLOBE MK2 4000 provides an extremely brilliant display that could be a highlight for any temporary or permanent event, whether it is a unique live experience or an outstanding fixed installation that you would like to pull off.

Lighting Design: Régis Clouzet, Sylvain Bresson – L’Agence lumière
Photo: Johann Poignant- L’Agence lumière
Architectural planning: Agence à Trois - Alp’Etudes

For further info please contact:
Audrey Poignant
Communication and Development Strategies Manager - L’agence Lumière