The Parthenon

With a heightened sense of civic engagement and the global context of lighting public spaces, Tillett Lighting Design Associates illuminates the Parthenon in Nashville with an eye to its architectural narrative.

The full-scale American replica of Athens's original Parthenon stands in Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee. Centennial Park is an important civic space in Nashville. Since the 1930s, the Parthenon has hosted countless art shows in its galleries while also adhering to a mandate of educating both Nashvillians and visitors about the legacy of the ancient Greeks and their impact on American civilization.

Tillett Lighting Design Associates recently created a new lighting design for the iconic structure. In synch with their client's needs, Tillett Lighting Design's profound investment in creating a lighting scheme that is sensible, civic-minded, and in dialogue with its surroundings resulted in a sophisticated yet archetypical illumination that acknowledged the original Parthenon's current lighting while also embracing Nashville's colorful past, present, and future.


Tillett Lighting Design's lighting for the Nashville Parthenon uses Lumenpulse luminaires to capture their vision and philosophy. The design has a performative aspect, which uses the Lumenpulse Lumenbeam and Lumenfacade fixtures to strategically reveal architectural elements of the Parthenon over a prescribed timeline. This begins with the bronze doors before moving to the inner walls, and onto the columns. The stoa's walls and doors are wallwashed by ceiling-mounted Lumenbeams. Pole-mounted Lumenbeam Large fixtures then light the entablature, revealing its sculptural motifs, before illuminating the gorgeously ornate tympanum. The finale of the nightly "breathing into light" is the illumination of the heraldic Griffins (acroterions) on each corner of the roof.

The procession of lighting is done at some distance with the pole-mounted Lumenbeam Large luminaires, and at a proximal distance, thanks to the Lumenfacades and architecturally mounted Lumenbeam Larges. It is important to note that all the luminaires used in this project are Lumentalk enabled. This allowed the installation and commissioning and the ongoing control of the luminaires to be done without the addition of data cables. All data travels over the existing powerlines. Lumentalk was able to help reduce any harmful impact on the architecture by avoiding new data conduits.

The color-changing capabilities of the Lumenpulse luminaires were originally commissioned to remain primarily elemental, staying in the softer tonal ranges. Still, on special occasions, the client can program them to match more modern celebratory colors, such as those used by local sports teams and during Fourth of July festivities.

Balancing the traditional, in this case, classical, architectural elements and modern lighting needs is a feat flawlessly performed by Tillett Lighting Design Associates' design. The Nashville Parthenon is a mirror to the past and a living civic monument that inspires, reminds, and embodies a sense of pride among the citizens of Nashville.

144 x Lumenbeam Large RGBW (Narrow Flood 20º)
208 x Lumenbeam Large Dynamic White (Wide Flood 60º)
4 x Lumenbeam Large RGBW (Narrow Asymmetric)
12 x Lumenfacade Dynamic White (24", Asymmetric Wallwash)
4 x Lumenfacade Dynamic White (36", Asymmetric Wallwash)

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Location: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Market: Arts + Culture
Client: Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation
Lighting Design: Tillett Lighting Design Associates
Landscape Architect: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
Photographer: Sterling E. Stevens

Their reach, performance, and optics are what initially brought us to Lumenpulse luminaires. But what also stood out was Lumenpulse’s commitment to the project. They helped with a number of services, including wiring diagrams, on-site visits, commissioning, and were very thoughtful and invested in the project from the start.

Linnea Tillett
Tillett Lighting Design Associates