Molinos de Consuegra Lighting Project
Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place called Consuegra, stands one of the greatest symbols of Spanish culture. Situated atop the Cerro Calderico ridge are the 12 windmills (molinos in Spanish) that inspired Miguel de Cervantes to write his hugely famous work of literature: Don Quijote de la Mancha
This article addresses...
- LOS MOLINOS DE CONSUEGRA
- TOPOGRAPHICAL CHALLENGE
- ADAPTING CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY TO 16TH-CENTURY BUILDINGS
Los Molinos de Consuegra
The windmills were declared a Cultural Interest Resource in the Spanish heritage registry in 2008 and are one of the greatest tourism pulls in the region, together with the nearby Castillo de la Muela. The windmills constitute one of the largest and best-preserved sites of its kind in Spain. They were once key to the area’s economic development, and were visible from up to 60 km away owing to the relief of the surrounding area.
The sight of these buildings is truly magnificent, transporting all those who gaze upon them to the world of the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance and his adventures.
The owners of the property entrusted Secom Iluminación to devise a unique, tailored solution to this peculiar lighting project that would ensure the utmost quality and reliability.
Given the importance of the site, the resulting installation had to be able to maintain a specific light intensity. The lighting had to be uniform across all the windmills, and the luminaires had to enable changes in lighting colour to create remote-controllable lighting scenes.
The most challenging aspect of the project was undoubtedly the hilly terrain, which made it impossible to install any types of cables for the control system.
How could the luminaires be controlled without any cables being installed?
Adapting cutting-edge technology to 16th-century buildings
The technical department at Secom Iluminación created a lighting project to fulfil the specifications set out by the local government and to overcome the challenges mentioned above.
The solution lay in the use of a pioneering lighting control technology: radio frequency remote control.
We installed a transmitter on La Muela Castle, exploiting its proximity to the windmills. In addition, each windmill was fitted with a DMX node to enable total control over the DMX drivers for the luminaires, each of which can be controlled individually.
The lighting technician can use this autonomous networked control system to exercise total control over the luminaires and to select different colour scenes or vary the tone and intensity of each light.
A switchboard sends a radio frequency signal to the nodes inside the windmill. These receive the signal and translate the orders to the DMX driver for the luminaires to enable rapid and accurate total control over the installation. The lights can be adjusted individually, in groups or all together.
After deciding which control and management system to use in this special project, the next stage was to select a luminaire to house it.
To ensure a uniform result, we installed four Esdium Led RGBW floodlights for each windmill to ensure an equal flow of light from all the cardinal points.
These floodlights offer a perfect solution. Suitable for the outdoors, they are installed at ground level, seven metres from the windmill itself. They are small and discrete and do not take away from the beauty of this amazing landscape. The luminaires have a power rating of up to 95W and an aperture of 48°. The light beam can therefore be enlarged while maintaining adequate and uniform lighting across the surface of the windmill. What is more, mobile mounts mean the luminaires can be redirected at will to concentrate the light flow on the desired areas.
The goal is to provide soft lighting across the entire structure without lighting to excess. Some zones receive considerably more light than others, and the lighting is targeted to protect against loss of luminous flux and thus optimise the installation.
The technical department at Secom Iluminación put together a comprehensive and detailed plan for the entire zone, with a focus on both the outer walls of the individual windmills and on the site as a whole. Based on the chosen site for the floodlights and an appropriate inclination angle, we were able to select a luminaire with power rating, optics and installation position that were in complete alignment with the expectations for the project.
In short, this wonder of Toledo is now lit up to be marvelled at night after night, not just by the hundreds of tourists who visit the site but by the residents of Consuegra, who proudly gaze at the windmills atop the mountain, the very symbol of their home.
More in our blog