Fenice, Prato

Prato is located few kilometres away from Florence. Since the Middle Ages, the production of textile products has always had a central role in the economy of Prato, and in 19th century the city used to be called ‘the Manchester of Tuscany’. Nowadays, Prato is still one of the main European
textile centres.

The whole city, which still preserves its medieval architectural structure, has been illuminated since the Eighties with 750 ‘Light 800’ Neri lanterns, installed on wall brackets and reproduced by Neri like the original ones.

The municipality, with the service of Citelum, transformed all the lanterns to give them a LED source. Neri designed a specific kit that made the replacement of old lamps faster, and thus it improved efficiency and favoured significant economic savings.

The wall brackets with the coat of arms of the city, which were created by Neri specifically for the project, were preserved together with the lantern structure, in which the LED sensors were installed. The city, during daytime, hasn’t changed its face because it preserved its lighting system, whilst during the night the lighting has improved.

Since the 1980s, for Piazza Duomo, Neri reproduced the original lamp posts dating back to the end of the 1800s. It was a very challenging task, a real challenge, as no original lamp posts had survived from that time. Thorough photographic research was required by the Neri Foundation, so as to trace significantly defined, close-up photographs, in order to study the shapes, proportions and decorations to reproduce a faithful replica.

Creating the model for decorating the central column, which is truly unusual for a lamp post, was particularly difficult: a column decorated with jewels in memory of the Renaissance. The lamp posts in Piazza Duomo have even now been modified and converted to LED lighting.

The result achieved is spectacular. The large spaces of one of Italy’s most beautiful squares, thanks to the warm, well distributed lighting, has been turned into an intimate, welcoming gathering place, making it a very pleasant stop and gaze over the many historical testimonies, starting with the Cathedral sculpted by Donatello.