Project: Sagrado Corazón Montemayor Infant School

This website uses _ga and _gid cookies owned by Google Analytics, persistent for 2 years, to enable the single visit control function with a view to allowing you to browse around the website. If you continue browsing, we will assume you agree with their usage. You may revoke your consent and obtain further information by consulting our Cookies Policy.


Project: Sagrado Corazón Montemayor Infant School

Jan 19 2022

“Light is measured in lumens, but is felt in your heart”

Paula A. Serna, founder of the DEDÓS lighting studio, believes that "lighting is the celebration of good architecture". Ever since she started to study architecture, and then when she specialized in Lighting Design by studying a Master’s Degree at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, she was interested to see how light helps us to perceive areas differently and how this fact transforms people's experience of what they see.

This has inspired Paula throughout her career and professional development, and was one of the driving forces behind the fundamental objectives that were required when developing the lighting project for the Sagrado Corazón Montemayor Pre-School. The project sets out to meet the functional and emotional needs of the children who come to a place that aims to foster learning, development, stimulation, and play, as well as taking into account the feelings of the rest of the community involved in this educational space: the families and teachers.

On a conceptual level, synaesthesia was a concept that accentuated many of the lighting strategies that made up the project. Initially, Paula posed unusual questions such as can a smell be yellow? or can a colour make us feel cold? Ultimately, the aim was to achieve a lighting application that would stimulate the senses through light.

To achieve this conscious experience of light, three main lighting strategies were defined:

  1. Light that promotes well-being and respects the synchronisation of circadian rhythms.
  2. Light that positively stimulates the senses in order to learn, develop, stimulate and play.
  3. Light that establishes a correct relationship with unique spaces, beyond the purely functional requirements.

The educational centre is located in the rural area of Envigado, in the department of Antioquia, near Medellín (Colombia), and, to undertake this project to develop the centre’s lighting, Paula A. Serna enlisted Lamp as one of the lighting solutions companies that would be involved in the project. 

One of the main reasons behind this decision was that Lamp shares her vision of lighting design as a means of promoting people's physical, mental and emotional well-being. In addition to that, she was convinced they were a responsible brand that offered guarantees that reduce the maintenance of the lighting elements as much as possible.


The Sagrado Corazón Montemayor preschool building was developed by Convel and is the first in the region to obtain the EDGE Advanced Green Certificate. It is designed under sustainability parameters that allow them to achieve energy savings of up to 40% and water savings of up to 35%. In this commitment to sustainability, Lamp's proposal also fits in perfectly, as they always advocate solutions that have a positive impact on the environment, 

The facilities of this educational centre for children in the pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and transition grades are spread over 3,713 m² and accommodate different types of areas. There are 13 classrooms set aside for the children's classes, as well as several special rooms, including a music room, playroom, dining room, and chapel.

The building is made up of two modules in the form of semi-arches facing each other on their convex sides and arranged in such a way as to maintain a certain asymmetry. This arrangement aims to ensure the optimisation of the orientation of both structures in order to make the most of the sunlight. Each semi-arch - made up of two-height modules - is connected by a walkway. The space created between the two semi-arches is used for recreation and outdoor play.


The main concern of the DEDÓS studio when it came to designing the lighting for the educational centre was to think about what benefits it could bring to the children. Serna's approach was motivated by a saying that she always tries to apply in her work: "Light is measured in lumens, but it is felt in the heart".

For Paula, the purpose behind lighting is far more than just a functional one. Humans are naturally dependent on light, a conditioning that is embodied in what we know as circadian rhythms. For its part, artificial lighting should also be conceived as an element that promotes the synchronisation of these circadian rhythms, incorporating it into the project as a natural element that the children feel comfortable with, both physically and emotionally.

This lighting project has pioneered the use of dynamic white technology (Tunable White) in an educational centre. This creates lighting that doesn’t only accompany the dynamism of natural light, but which is also used as a strategic element to improve certain parts of our daily routine. In this way, there is a clear improvement in the educational experience of the users and in the rest they can obtain, and it also helps to prevent stressful situations and anxiety.

By seeking a thorough understanding of the area, the users, and their daily routines, different scenarios are established, which function as milestones or turning points. Some of them are the following:

- Welcoming light: This helps to create a warm and comfortable ambience, minimising the possible feelings of anxiety suffered by children and families at the moment of separation.

- Light for concentration.

- Break time light.

- Back to class: Where lighting plays a key role in calming children's excitement levels after their break time.

For Serna, the lighting needed to transform the different areas and create positive emotions, always with a coherence in terms of the language of lighting and its relationship with the buildings.  For this reason, the designers sought an organic integration of the lighting elements, allowing the children to associate each area with a specific lighting experience, so that each spatial typology has its own lighting identity.


In the general classrooms, the lighting solution meets the lighting requirements in terms of illuminance levels, in accordance with the RETILAP standard. Lamp's FIL 45 SYSTEM linear luminaires provide a lighting solution that integrates both general and accent lighting.

The general lighting uniformly provides the necessary levels of lighting for the children to carry out their tasks in the classroom. These systems are equipped with dynamic white technology and have an opal comfort diffuser, which provides pleasant lighting with low levels of glare (UGR). 

The centre makes the most of natural resources, such as sunlight. For this reason, the artificial lighting is regulated by light sensors that take into account the natural light that enters the classroom, and this is integrated into the DALI control protocol.

The general lighting is complemented by HANCE spotlights at the ends of the lines. This warm accent lighting with excellent colour rendering enhances certain perimeter elements of the classroom, such as the library area, or areas that highlight awards or hold exhibitions of students' work. 

These accent lighting elements, together with the indirect lighting in recesses, make up the "welcome" lighting, creating a lighting ambience that welcomes users. As a result, when a child approaches a classroom, it will never appear as a completely dark area, even if the classroom is empty.

In the playroom and dining room areas, the lighting is a playful element, and the lighting solutions themselves are transformed into an organic element that is integrated into the architecture. The lighting in these areas is provided by FIL 45 hexagonal structures, which provide a light that is both functional and fun at the same time.

Likewise, in the special classrooms, there were also certain specific requirements, as in the case of the music room, where the concept of synaesthesia was played with, experimenting with the way colours create sensations and stimulate certain senses. In the chapel, indirect and warm light was used to encourage reflection and the sense of calm. 

The entrances to the classrooms and the corridoors were also given special attention. In the connections between the areas, the lighting tends to be more functional and pragmatic, and the Ocult luminaire was used in this respect. This integrates well, due to its compact size and the excellent lighting comfort made possible by its high degree of shielding. The intersections guide the access to the different classrooms. In these areas, a type of lighting that invites the children to explore the different routes was used.

The teaching staff also needed lighting adapted to their needs. In the administrative areas, we opted for a cooler light that would activate the senses, whereas in the teachers' room we worked to create an atmosphere that would help them to rest. For this reason, the lighting aimed to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere.


Despite being a project primarily designed for daytime use, the effect of lighting at night was also considered. In this case, the lighting aimed to subtly highlight the architecture and all the different units that form a part of it. For this reason, we played on the full and empty spaces of the architectural structure itself, using the transforming power of the light that highlights the interior areas, and enhances it through the transparency of the large windows. This is in contrast to the daytime vision, where natural lighting fundamentally highlights the massive exterior parts of the buildings.

Estás navegando en Inglés.
¿Quieres acceder a la versión en ?

You are browsing in English.
Do you want to switch to the version?

Vous naviguez en en.
Voulez-vous accéder à la version en ?

Estàs navegant en Anglès.
Vols accedir a la versió en ?

Take me
Oui, merci