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Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral, Jakarta

Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral, Jakarta


Symbol of the Neo-Gothic style, the tall towers of Jakarta’s Cathedral stand out in bright tones to communicate through light and colour.

Completely rebuilt at the end of the 19Th century, the Cathedral of Jakarta was the first Neo-Gothic style Catholic church in the Dutch East Indies. "Our Lady of Assumption” is a gorgeous remnant of the colonial architectural heritage of Jakarta as well as a modern symbol of the multi-denominational nature of Indonesia.

With its dark colours and high, tapered towers, the Neo-Gothic style gained traction after decades of war becoming a symbol of repentance and of the human endeavour to reach Heaven. Following this widely diffused European style, the cathedral is fitted with three finely sculpted towers, each of them featuring a different design. Rising like arrows above the church’s main structure, two 60 m high towers are located in the front of the building. The left one represents the strength of the king in protecting his people, while the right one symbolises the purity of the Virgin Mary. Standing 45 m tall, the third tower is located above the church’s main altar.
Lighting design
Herwin Gunawan, Principal ALTA Integra, Jakarta - Indonesia
Product specification and installation
Pt Indolite Prima, Jakarta - Indonesia
Herwin Gunawan, Principal ALTA Integra, Jakarta – Indonesia
ALTA Integra - a multidisciplinary consultancy with a sustainable approach in engineering and designing innovative solutions - was called to develop a new lighting concept for the Cathedral’s towers. Principal at ALTA Integra, Herwin Gunawan explains the philosophy behind the selected lighting design: "When there was no electricity, bells were a direct and easy communication tool. Alternative codes were used to deliver messages either of joy, danger, or mourning to the population. Part of the everyday communication system, three bell tolls invited worshippers to the Sunday Mass, five tolls evoked a happy event, and so on. The unavoidable urban development, with the related noise pollution typical of a big city, deteriorated the capacity of sending clear messages through the bell sound. Answering to these challenges, we have suggested the use of light as a successful and direct communication medium.”
Jade 16 RGBW units are perfectly hidden in the architectural interstices of the church, and the imposing towers of the Cathedral now use light and colour to easily communicate different moods or religious festivities according to the catholic calendar. They turn red and green at Christmas’Eve, purple during the Advent time and for Lent, red on Good Friday, white for the Sunday Mass. A relatively simple LED lighting system delivers an intense emotional impact, a gorgeous night scape and an eye-catching visual perspective to this beautiful church, well worth visiting.
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