Porta del Paradiso, Florence

Porta del Paradiso, Florence, Italy
Client: Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore
Exhibition Designers: Guicciardini & Magni Architetti
Lighting Designer: Arch. Massimo Iarussi
Electrical Engineers: Ing. Giancarlo Martarelli, P.I. Daniele Baccellini
Photographs by: Mario Ciampi

It took Lorenzo Ghiberti 27 years to complete the “Porta del Paradiso”, the Gates of Paradise, the most beautiful of the gilded bronze doors, made for the eastern entrance of the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Florence, in front of the main facade of the Cathedral.
According to Giorgio Vasari, the door—once known just as the East Door—was named the Gates of Paradise by Michelangelo Buonarroti because of its striking beauty: “elle son tanto belle che starebbon bene alle porte del Paradiso”; “they are so beautiful that they would fit well into the gates of Paradise”.
In 1990 the entire door was dismantled for total restoration, due to the effect of air pollution and atmospheric corrosion on the gilded metal, and then replaced with a copy.
Once the restoration work was completed, in 2012 the Gate of Paradise was placed in a big display case with a control system tailored to regulate microclimatic conditions. The case was temporarily located in the covered courtyard near the entrance of the Opera Museum.
In 2015, when the renovation and extension work of the Opera Museum was completed, the door was finally placed inside the museum, in the center of the “Sala del Paradiso”.
The display case lighting is composed by a vertical linear LED system, installed inside the case.
The use of multiple LED bars equipped with both narrow and diffuse optics, separately controlled, provide the right balance between direct light, which highlights reliefs, and diffuse light for smoother shadows.