Throughout the years, we have had the pleasure of working on many grand projects, and Château De Versailles is no exception. With 300 years of history, one can understand what a privilege and feat our past and continued work with multiple water features at Chateau De Versailles has been.
THE WEIGHT OF HISTORY
Throughout history, royalty and the wealthy have showcased their stature and affluence through illustrious residences to make bold statements. One such example is Louis XIV of France, whose ambitions are still evident at Versailles. The vast Gardens of Versailles sprawl over 1,900 acres, presenting unique illumination challenges at its opening to the public in 1837. Exclusive gatherings were commonplace upon the grounds, where thousands of candles were used to illuminate these events. As the gardens evolved over centuries to become public attractions, modern lighting techniques were explored and implemented to enhance the palace and its grounds’ brilliance for visitors.
ILLUMINATING THE PAST
Our involvement began in 2014, with a referral from JML Water Feature Design, which led us to collaborate with the esteemed French lighting design firm, Les Eclairagistes Associes (LEA). With the direction of Lighting Designer Laurent Fachard, and Château de Versailles Spectacles, the public agency responsible for maintaining the gardens as an outdoor entertainment space, we were entrusted to help design and then provide the first-ever submersible lighting to the gardens’ water features. The goal? Integrate modern technology while respecting the vast heritage and importance of the space.
Prior to Crystal’s involvement, the fountains were being lit externally by powerful incandescent lamps beaming in from trees and structures outside the water. This resulted in uneven illumination and the casting of unwanted shadows that reduced the visual appeal of sculptures amid the jetting water at night. The inclusion of our RGBACL LED lighting within each fountain basin transformed the spectacle after sunset. These lights are submerged, fully surrounding each jet, offering uniform lighting effects that accentuate the beauty of the sculptures and match the original candle flame colour originally used to illuminate the gardens
Preserving the historic integrity of the fountains was of paramount concern. The 17th-century hydraulic design relied solely on gravity to supply water to the fountains, a marvel of engineering treasured for centuries. To ensure that the original components remained untouched, we worked with LEA to design custom stands for each new light, enabling the LEDs to rest atop the original fountain mechanisms without compromising their function or damaging them.
RESTORING THE GLORY
The project’s journey is ongoing, with a series of planned phases focusing on renovating the lighting of the Garden’s most prominent statues, sculptures, and fountains. Covering over three square miles, the work is strategically divided to enrich visitors’ experiences and solidify Château de Versailles’ position as a global tourist attraction.
Currently, we have begun work on the restoration of the Apollo Fountain, which we had the privilege of working on almost a decade ago. Located in the middle of the Grande Perspective, the Apollo Fountain serves as a central and renowned element of Versailles’ garden. The restoration of the fountain and the revamp of its lighting elements will utilize technological advancements like our RGBACL LED lighting which allows for an unlimited palette of colours including pure white. In collaboration with Laurent Fachard, the redesigned lighting layout will elevate the allure of the fountain.
A Bird’s Eye View: At the center of the garden side sits the Apollo Fountain as seen above.
A SHINING RESTORATION
We take immense pride in our collaborative efforts with LEA, Château De Versailles Spectacles and all of the other contractors and consultants who’ve played a part in these grand undertakings. The Gardens of Versailles stand as a testament to the seamless integration of history and modernity, providing a timeless experience for generations to come. Visitors now have the opportunity to witness the grandeur of Château de Versailles during the nighttime shows, held every Saturday from June to September.
“Working on big restoration projects is always a challenge, but when the subject fountain is 300 years old and the setting is the famous Gardens of Versailles? It takes care, professionalism and a determination to perform at the very highest level “
Director of Commercial Products
(At Crystal Fountains since 1981)