Arch. Design Francesco Murano

Francesco-Murano_postFrancesco Murano
Design and Architecture
Assistant Professor of Department of Design in Polytechnic University of Milan

Architect, obtained a master at the Domus Academy and a PhD in Industrial Design at the Politecnico di Milano with a degree thesis entitled “Le figure della Luce”.
He carries out his activity within the fields of environmental and interior lighting; his productions vary from lighting installations, to lighting of stands, to lamp design, to monumental and architectural lighting, to lighting of art exhibition, to the research of new materials produced by important Italian and European industries.
All major Italian magazines of architecture and interior design havebeen concerned with his work, which has also been published in many foreing magazines pertaining to the field of product design and lighting design.
He has been a member of the research staff of both the Domus Academy and the Taipei Design Centre and Coordinator of Master in Light Design at the Istituto Europeo di Design di Milano.
He is Research Professor at the Politecnico di Milano, Department of Design and member of Laboratorio “Luce e Colore” Politecnico di Milano.

Politecnico di Milano


Arch. Francesco Murano x Mr. Kumpei Kobayashi (Toshiba materials co., ltd.)
February 3rd, 2016 @ Palazzo Reale Milano


K: The illumination field currently seems to be getting more and more into artificial LED lighting. As an architect involved in lighting design, what is your view of the current status?

M: Up until a little while ago, LED technology had been considered as a field suffering from technical problems and, hence, its quality had not reached the required level. However, there have recently been considerable improvements being made, just as can be seen in the color values perceived by people (CRI).

A remarkable feature being witnessed within the exhibition field is the extension of the life span of LEDs -the most considerable change to date-, constituting a great improvement in the problem of maintenance. When changing halogen bulbs, people have the tendency to choose the wrong type of bulb, often causing the problem of different types of bulbs existing within the same space.


K: What differences did you notice when using a TRI-R light source this time?

M: When I used TRI-R, what I noticed the most was the difference in color. This is partly because its CRI values are high, but I also felt that by using warm light and cold light -that is to say, by mixing two color light sources with different color temperatures- we were able to achieve a completely different result from the point of view of the senses and how the colors are perceived. The colors were shown with a much clearer radiance. I believe the reason for this can be attributed to the fact that the light was generated as a continuous spectrum similar to sunlight.


K: I completely agree. With a continuous spectrum, none of the colors show any deficiencies or insufficiencies. This makes the colors look better, and also, I expect that even with monotone sculptures, it could convey an extremely beautiful feel for the material. What is your opinion with regard to this point?

M: Yes, of course, I believe you could obtain a similar result. Yet, in order to apply lights with two color temperatures, you would need to have two appliances for each. However, for actual exhibitions, the reality is that it would be fairly difficult to guarantee a suitable budget for this every time. My hope for the future is to have one single appliance capable of mixing LED light sources with two color temperatures, or one LED chip that can mix two color temperatures. Maybe my expectations are too high; however, my hope is that this might improve the lighting environments at exhibitions, also from a budgetary point of view.

At the Hopper Exhibition held in an art gallery in Rome in 2010, we used a technology similar to this one to implement a method for mixing light with two color temperatures. At the time, we used 3000K and 4000K dichroic halogen lamps, and it was then that we were able to actually experience the absolute best when using this method. However, this time we implemented the same 3000K and 4000K LEDs, and the fact that we managed to achieve this kind of result constitutes incredible progress.

Also, I believe that this is also an extremely effective method for LED lighting designers. The reason is that it provides the new technical option of mixing cold light with warm light. In the aforementioned Hopper Exhibition, I was requested to use 4000K lighting to illuminate some artwork; however, for the rest of the exhibition, some requests specified light from 2000K to 3000K. I believe that lighting techniques that make it possible to create a gradation or mixture of light can have a considerable influence in the interpretation of illuminated artworks.


About the Light Exposure of “La Giovinezza” through TRI-R

K: In your opinion, how does the source light make this painting look amazing?

M: I think the light makes the contrast really stand out beautifully. In particular, this painting uses a beige tone that combines warm colors and cold colors. By combining warm and cold color spectrums, both actually stand out, resulting in a beautiful contrast. Now let’s compare it to the painting next to it to see the difference clearly. As the other painting is only illuminated by a warm color light, the color tones with red in it are really visible; however, this is not the case with the cold color tones.


K: We also believe that mixing two colors is an extremely efficient method.

M: Yes, this method is just amazing. It would be great if it could be implemented all the time.


K: In order to implement this modulated light technology, we think that perhaps it might be important to make adjustments to the light on-site while looking at the painting. In this way you could find the best combination for making the painting stand out the most.

M: In one experiment that I have been carrying out by myself with an ordinary painting (with no colors being particularly biased toward red or blue), the lighting that I liked best was formed by a balance of around 30lux of cold light and 100lux of warm light.

Of course, if you can create the light by making different combinations then the best method would be to make the adjustments as you look at the picture. This could create great many possibilities in terms of lighting. Also, the modulation of light does not rely on machines, but it is something that is adjusted little by little by trying things out by hand.


K: There are also two possibilities: applying two color lights from the same direction and from different directions. How would you assess the evaluation criteria for this?

M: The method used would differ depending on the painting. This is a general issue with the illumination of paintings. If a painting reflects light easily, then you can place the lights at a certain distance on the left and right, making them crossover so that they pass through above the painting itself. Each painting has its own optimum lighting; therefore, whether the light should be applied from the same direction or from different directions is actually determined by the painting itself. If you are dealing with a large painting, the most appropriate method is to make the lights cross over.

For example, the artwork titled “Tsumi (Crime)” was exposed to lighting from the left and right at a great distance. The main problem with this painting was its large-sized frame. By placing the lights at a distance and making them cross over, we took out the frame shadow that was created by the each light. This allowed viewers to see the painting without casting a shadow onto the middle section of the painting.


K: Going forward, we shall continue to develop new technologies so that we can fulfill your expectations. I really hope we can continue working together for many more years to come.

M: Of course, it would be my pleasure. There are many art galleries in Italy, and just now we are entering an important time of transition from halogen bulbs to LEDs. I believe that we are currently in the most perfect time for their implementation.