• Marseille’s Centre Bourse shopping centre, a custom-made movement of light based on a complex concept
  • Staging a light wave

Marseille’s Centre Bourse shopping centre, a custom-made movement of light based on a complex concept

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On its 40th anniversary, LEC looks back on its contribution to lighting with Claire-Lise Bague: the LED illumination of Marseille’s Centre Bourse shopping centre. 

“We were very pleasantly surprised by the result. We didn’t think we could achieve such a sharp level of finesse in the shadows.”

Claire-Lise Bague – Lighting Designer


Providing LED lighting to the new Centre Bourse in Marseille in 2014 began with a constraint and became a challenge. It had to flow with the architect’s work along the whole façade, up to the canopy that sheltered pedestrians in front of the shopfronts. And most importantly, it had to be visible from the Vieux Port and the historic Canebière street.

Claire-Lise Bague speaks about this demanding project.

The Centre Bourse in Marseille: recreating a wave with light

Claire-Lise Bague recalls her collaboration with LEC

Our first requirement was to follow the new façade of Marseille’s Centre Bourse, making it stand out and turning it into artwork. The LED illumination had to track the movement of the metallic swell around the entire building, across three levels of veils.

With LEC, we lit up the bottom veil by creating a pleasant light halo, which provided added security, and that rippled around the façade like a wave in the Mediterranean Sea.

Overcoming several constraints with flexibility

For this project, the client wanted to create a prototype so the light could be positioned inside the bottom veil.

We knew that with LEC we customise the optics in minute detail. That is why we requested a sampling of LED strips with alternating intense, elliptical optics that we put at the base of the veil in a hollow joint. The result was conclusive on a small portion of the veil’s curl, but needed to be adjusted to soften the light’s harshness.

We counted on LEC’s flexibility to meet our precise need…and so we went even further in the customisation. We added another challenge of creating strips where the distance between each LED was equal to the slats that form the underside of the veils, and which used inclined mirrors to spread the beam and provide uniform lighting.

LED lighting that perfectly adapts to the motion

The idea of mirrors turned out to be a powerful way to follow the veil’s movement in an even manner while keeping a simple alternation of optics and the light’s position. It’s the mirror that reflects the light and adapts to the motion of the veil.

All this happened throughout the prototype phase, each time testing a new optic and mirror. I loved the idea of highlighting such architectural movement with the paradox of a fixed light installation. I also liked that the movement of light was caused by reflections, and that the manufacturer provided us with a technical solution which was precise down to the cm and the optic’s degree.

I am delighted to see that the final light adds texture and brings out the architectural pleats of Marseille’s Centre Bourse.

⇒ Did you know?
In 1977, LEC decided to focus all its attention on LED technology. These decades of dedicated expertise have allowed the company to meet strict requirements in terms of reliability, efficiency, maintenance and aesthetic appeal. Relive with us 40 historic years devoted to LED technology and the lighting industry.