TOSHIBA LIGHTING & TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION > Projects > Louvre Project > Interview Kazuaki MAKITA

Innovation that Preserves Leonardo's Vision. Louvre Museum Project Leader, New Lighting Systems Division, Toshiba Corporation Kazuaki MAKITA
photo of Kazuaki Makita

The first phase of the LED lighting renovation project at the Louvre Museum in France, under the partnership agreement that was concluded with Toshiba in June 2010, consisted of renovating the exterior lighting for the Louvre. The objectives of replacing the existing xenon lamps with LED lamps were to reduce power consumption and environmental impact, but we also faced the very difficult issue of not detracting from the aesthetic beauty of the Louvre Museum which is a global cultural heritage. Test illumination was repeatedly performed, and discussions were held with the former president director of the Louvre, Henri Loyrette, as well as with the Historical Monuments Committee and the Architecture and Heritage Service in France. We also devoted time and effort to the shape of the fixtures. The attention to aesthetic beauty by the concerned authorities in France represented a substantial challenge for all of us at Toshiba who are in the process of trying to create a new type of “akari (lighting) culture”.

LED lighting renovation work around the Pyramid, Pyramidions and the Colbert Pavilion was completed in December 2011, and lighting renovation work in the Cour Napoleon was completed in May 2012. The Louvre Museum gave Toshiba high marks for its ability to “Reduce environmental impact while maintaining artistic integrity”, and this led to the conclusion of an agreement to renovate the lighting for the Mona Lisa and the Red Rooms (Salle des Etats). Initially, we trembled at taking on the task of illuminating the “Mona Lisa”, which is the crown-jewel of the museum, but we made the decision to take on this challenge in a bold manner, recognizing that it was a unique opportunity that would help us create new “akari (lighting) culture” by utilizing the technological expertise of Toshiba to make a contribution to art.

In this second phase of the lighting renovation project, we needed to coordinate our efforts with the technical experts from various countries who have worked on lighting at the Louvre in the past, and we had the opportunity to consider the optimum concepts for illuminating art through repeated contact with persons from various countries. We cooperated with technical experts from a variety of nations who wish to carry on the tradition of Leonardo Da Vinci who was an innovator in mechanical engineering, anatomy and various other fields, working to prevent browning of the painting and uniform illumination. It was a privilege to work with everyone involved in the project, and achieving our goals through the various innovations designed to preserve the beauty of this global cultural asset for the future is more than anyone of us at Toshiba could have dreamed possible.

I would like to express my great joy and deep gratitude to all the people that helped blaze a new trail for “akari (lighting)” that consisted of “Fusing French art with Japanese technology” during this project. We will continue to hone and refine our technology in order to utilize the power of “akari (lighting)” to protect the earth’s environment and global cultural assets as an “Eco-Leading Company”.

About the Louvre x Toshiba LED project Louvre museum project leader Kazuaki Makita
Jean-Luc MARTINEZ :13 years partnership agreement

the Mona Lisa / the Red Roomthe Mona Lisa / the Red Room

Interview with participating Louvre representatives and Frenchofficials
Kazuaki MAKITA :Finding New Traditions in Lighting
Sophie LEMONNIER :Experts Who Exceeded Our Expectations
Christophe MONIN :Coordinating two different cultures
Vincent DELIEUVIN :Rediscovering the Mona Lisa in a New Light
Jean-Louis BELLEC :The strong desire to make success
Lorenzo PIQUERAS :A Perfect Environment for the Mona Lisa
Takayoshi MORIYAMA :Recovering the Painting's Deft Brushwork and Coloring
the Mona Lisa

Pyramid and Pyramidions / the Cour NapoléonPyramid and Pyramidions / the Cour Napoléon

Interview with participating Louvre representatives and Frenchofficials
Michel Goutal :Preservation while maintaining consistency.
Frédéric Auclair :Changing the way we perceive things
Sophie Lemonnier :Continuous innovation
Christophe Monin :The Louvre Museum's Unique Constraints
Message Former President Director of the Louvre Museum. Henri Loyrette
Development Story Insight on development for the Louvre, product details
Gallery The Louvre, under LED illumination

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