«Lights!» Eiffage Énergie Systèmes completes upgrading work on the Bartholdi Fountain lighting system in Lyon

«Lights!» Eiffage Énergie Systèmes completes upgrading work on the Bartholdi Fountain lighting system in Lyon

The most emblematic of Lyon's fountains, listed as a historic monument in 1995, has undergone complete and complex restoration under the supervision of General Inspector and Chief Architect of Historic Monuments Didier Repellin. This upgrading work on the Bartholdi fountain was launched on the initiative of the City of Lyon, and Eiffage Énergie Systèmes was entrusted with the architectural lighting.

This allegory of Marianne in the shape of the goddess Amphitrite on a chariot controlling the four great rivers of France (represented by four rearing, cantilevered horses) has pride of place in the middle of Lyon's Place des Terreaux. The group is entitled Les Fleuves et les Sources allant à l’Océan (The Rivers and Streams flowing to the Ocean) and was sculpted in 1888 by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, who also created Liberty Enlightening the World (better known as the Statue of Liberty) and the colossal Lion of Belfort. Bartholdi's iron and lead fountain was presented at the Exposition Universelle world's fair of 1889 and was installed on the Place des Terreaux two years later.

Over the years, the sculpture had become damaged, cracked and dented and was entrusted to the care of master craftsmen (Compagnons du devoir) while our teams took charge of enhancing the fountain with underwater projectors. They also placed gobo projectors in the basin to create small, customizable images with LED illumination. 

In addition, our teams installed luminous optical fibre in the statue of Amphitrite and developed a system of lighting management controlled by the fountain installation. Light output can thus be switched on and off and raised or lowered via a long-distance steering programme. The panting horses' nostrils are now supplied with a device which combines misting with optical fibre to produce a highly realistic smoke effect.

The stone basin and its watertightness were also meticulously restored before the sculptured group could be reinstated in the fountain, over a century after it was first presented to the people of Lyon.
The work began in April 2016 and took two years to complete. The restored fountain, refilled with water and illuminated, was inaugurated on 22 March 2018.

Photo credits : © Eiffage Énergie Systèmes