When Napoleon III wanted a palace for his wife, the Imperatrice, Eugenie, he chose to build it at Biarritz on the Atlantic coast of France. Since then, Hotel du Palais has become a symbol of the town and the grandeur of times past. As part of the ongoing improvements towards the town’s attractions, it was decided to upgrade the lighting for the hotel. Previously, only one face of the hotel was illuminated and this used lines of xenon “festoon” type lamps which, over the years, had lost their sparkle. At this point, Biarritz Town invited the Parisian lighting designer, Franck Franjou, to design a new lighting scheme for the hotel. There were two challenges to overcome. The first was that the whole project from the initial concept to final commissioning had to be completed within six months. The second was how best to light this majestic building in keeping with its history and setting.
After setting up the lighting concept and specifications, Mr Franjou decided to collaborate with Axente because he completely relied on their expertise and precision when it comes to lighting controls and was also confident that they can complete the project in such a short period of time. Regarding the lit effect of the Palais, Mr Franjou wanted a subtle effect but one that could change according to local events or the time of year. He decided on a solution using a combination of dimmable white LEDs with different degrees of Warm and Cool light. The equipment chosen was the Philips intelliWhite Powercore linear LED system using a combination of 2,700K, 4,000K and 6,500K LEDs. Approximately 185 luminaires were installed. “It was essential that there was consistency in the appearance of all the LEDs across the whole façade” said Mr Franjou, “and the Philips Optibin technology ensures that there is complete uniformity in the appearance”. It is believed that this is the first time that a “Palace hotel" has been illuminated by using varying white color temperature LEDs that are also dimmable.