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The Central Market in Saragossa

The Central Market in Saragossa, also known as the Lamuza Market, was designed in 1895 by the architect Félix Navarro Pérez and completed in 1903. The building has an iron structure with a rectangular layout (3350 sqm), divided into three naves, that reaches a height of 16 m in the central nave. Here, the architect Félix Navarro succeeded in combining traditional local elements with new techniques and tastes. So, stone and glass come together in an iron structure that incorporates sculptural elements depicting allegories of market activities. In 1978, the building was declared a "Historical National Monument” and in 1982, a "Cultural Heritage Site".
In 2018 a renovation project was begun under the supervision of the municipal architect José Antonio Aranaz, with the aim of adapting the building to meet contemporary needs and restore its function as a community centre. This project amplified the available stall space to incorporate a food area, recovered corridors and opened the façades of the building that overlook the city centre, so its activities can be seen from the outside, too. The building’s restoration brought to light numerous historic and decorative details, including a series of 42 glazed plaques depicting products that are still sold in the market. 

So, the city has recovered a gem of modernist art thanks to an architectural project that is characterised by transparency and brightness but also preserves the building’s original character. One of the project’s aims was to make sure the structure can be enjoyed at night too, by virtue of a lighting system that enhances its architectural and decorative features, as well as providing functional lighting for the stalls. Inside the building, general environmental lighting is provided by Frontlight (28 W) pendant luminaires that blend in perfectly with the iron architecture and are fitted with Flood and Spot optics combined with elliptical lenses. These luminaires offer a uniform light that forms the basis of the interior lighting and is combined with indirect illumination from Platea Pro luminaires fitted with Wall Washer optics (31 W) that highlight the wooden ceiling, while the metal structure is emphasized by Underscore light lines. Accent lighting has also been used to illuminate the 42 ceramic animal plaques that are located in the upper part of the building. Here, MiniWoody spotlights (8 W), installed with an 800 mm-long custom-built arm and fitted with a spot optic and a refractive lens, create a carefully aimed light flow that ensures the plaques stand out from the dark background they are mounted on.
Throughout the market, a colour temperature of 3000 K has been used for all the luminaires. 

The lighting design for the outside of the building also responds to a series of specific requirements. It stimulates interaction with the urban environment and local people. It emphasizes the transparency and brightness of the interiors. It creates a calm mood for the architecture of the complex to be enjoyed in and, above all, it uses solutions that blend in with the building itself, are respectful of its architecture and conservation and ensure that the lighting is not too aggressive or excessive. 
The vertical thrust of the side façades is accentuated by steel columns that are highlighted by Woody (12 W) spotlights fitted with a Spot optic and a downward-pointing light beam, whereas the capitals are delicately illuminated by iPro spotlights fitted with a Flood optic. 
The main façade acquires a sense of monumentality thanks to the illumination of the four columns that repeat on the outside of the building the interior structure of the central and side naves and are lit by Underscore InOut light lines that outline the horizontal layout of the two side naves and the arch of the central nave. 
The illumination of the façade is completed by accent lighting created by Trick luminaires that highlight certain details on the windows and the upper part of the building. The pinnacles, bowls of fruit and rams, and the arches of the main entrance and the signs depicting the god Mercury (in honour of the divine protector of trade) are also highlighted in the side entrances by iPro spotlights. 
The Central Market in Saragossa has, therefore, become a space in which shopping becomes a unique experience and where the lighting helps recreate the bond between the city and one of its most representative architectural structures from the beginning of the twentieth century.

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  • Year
  • Client
    Municipality of Saragossa
  • Architectural project:
    José Antonio Aranaz
  • Photographer