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Lighting for the Arch of Janus inspired by the Roman gods

The Fondazione Fendi - Esperimenti entrusted the permanent lighting system for the Arch of Janus that stands opposite the palazzo Rhinoceros, to Vittorio and Francesca Storaro.

The lighting concept is based on the symbology of the Roman god, Janus. In ancient times, "The things of the Gods", gave order to the human world and directed both space and time. BLACK is the cosmic darkness that contains everything, protects everything and from which everything is born. Then, the light of SUNRISE breaks across the sky and the God of DAWN appears, the JANUS of the beginning of life. As the heat of the sun increases, the God of MORNING, QUIRINUS, the founder of Rome, asserts his ancient power over the city. And then, with his rays of sunlight, JOVE, the god of DAY arrives. He represents LIGHT more than any other and this affirms his position as a God of Origins. Over the centuries, the range of warm colours created during the MORNING and EVENING have always been regarded as having a divine origin.

From an astrological point of view, magic and religion have always connected natural colours to the PLANETS as well as to the GODS and the celestial spheres through which their unique influence is channelled. As the God of beginnings, QUIRINUS gave his name to the first month of the year: IANUARIUS, JANUS, JANUARY. Janus is therefore the God of transition from the old to the new year, from the past to the future and from the stasis of peace to the dynamics of war. Janus, as the God of beginnings, is one of the oldest divinities in the spheres of Roman, Latin and Italian religion. Thanks to his two faces, he looks forward to the future and back to the past and as the God of the door, he can also see inside and out. For the Romans, Janus acted as a pater divorum. He has always been immanent, right from the beginning of everything. In his poem "Fasti", Ovid recounts that he was present when the four elements separated to give shape to everything. Janus was the God of doors (ianuae), passages (iani) and bridges. He guarded entrances and exits and carried the ianitores, a key and a stick, while his two faces looked in two directions, indoors and out. As he was also the Dio dell'Evento (God of transition), the doors of his temple were thrown open in times of war and were closed in times of peace. Probably the first two-faced statue of the God stood at the Porta Ianualis, with one face looking East and the other looking West. The second was a four-faced Janus (with each of his faces looking North, South, East and West) located in the Forum of Domitian, and then an entire arch was dedicated to him in the Forum Boarium, where he is holding his key and his stick. In this Arch, in the Velabro area, the keystones of the four arches are decorated with the figures of: ROME-JUNE-MINERVA-CERERE. The lighting system consists entirely of iGuzzini LED architectural luminaires and is controlled by a DALI management system. It all starts here, at the centre of the world, in the central area inside the QUADRIFONS ARCH with the DAWN of time. A bright shade of ORANGE appears as if from the EARTH itself and moves up the inner walls of the arches, symbolising the JANUS of every beginning. As it rises, just like the god QUIRINUS who gets up every MORNING to light the city, this colour first fades into OCRE and then as it reaches towards the SKY, it intensifies into a splendid YELLOW, the colour of JOVE, the god of DAYLIGHT. The interiors of the four arches, therefore, imitate the cycle of the early morning SUN. The outer façades, on the other hand, with their symbolic DOORS that are opened or closed to indicate a time of peace or war, follow the light sequence of daytime with cold or warm tones depending on whether they face EAST/WEST or SOUTH/NORTH. The first WHITE/WARM tone cycle imitates the movement of the SUN towards SUNSET, while the second with its WHITE/COLD tones mimics the rise of the MOON.

Opposite the Arch of Janus, stands the “Rhinoceros at Saepta”, a white rhinoceros installation created by Raffaele Curi for the Fondazione Alda Fendi. The work is illuminated by a symbol of the sun at dusk with an "Aurea" LED projector from "The Muses of Light" series by Storaro & De Sisti.

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  • Year
  • Client
  • Lighting concept:
    Vittorio Storaro Francesca Storaro
  • Lighting design:
    Francesca Storaro
  • Rhinoceros AT Saepta installation
    Raffaele Curi
  • Vittorio and Francesca Storaro design the lighting of the Arco di Giano (Arch of Janus) donated by Alda Fendi to the City of Rome. Lighting: iGuzzini
  • Photographer
    Francesca Storaro