Lighting Design On Steroids: Victoria Coeln's Chromotopias

The photos show some of Victoria Coeln’s work at St, Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria.  She calls them “Chromotopias” and defines them as light spaces with no visible boundaries.  These multi-layered light surfaces are meant to be experienced as three-dimensional phenomena.

Coeln, a lighting artist, achieves these amazing results using the same tools lighting designers do – Rosco Permacolor Dichroics and good old E-Colour gel!  The difference is that Coeln creates what she calls “color foils” by hand drawing shapes and scratches directly onto the Permacolor and even the E-Colour.

The results, as you can see here, are not only stunning, but inspiring.  Here is Victoria Coeln on how she conceived the project: “In 1945, the cathedral was nearly burned to the ground when sparks from a nearby act of arson set fire to the building.  Nearly all the old windows were destroyed and replaced by panes of soft pastel colored glass.  My approach was to recapture the ancient spirit that inhabited the cathedral for centuries before the destruction and to re-animate the space with the same spirit.  For this purpose it was important that the baroque high altar be allowed to fade into the background using a projection surface – that is, a light ‘carrier’.  My goal was to restore to the cathedral that sense of lightness which likely prevailed there in the gothic period, prior to the installation of the baroque elements.”

How and What

For the St. Stephen’s Cathedral installation, Victoria Coeln used about 60 different Rosco Permacolor dichroics, including the new Victorian Gold and Mauve, which were etched and scratched by the artist on-site.  Approximately 2 km (over a mile!) of different Rosco E-Colour rolls were mounted at a height of about 60 feet.

ETC luminaires (HMI, 575 W) illuminated the gothic arch and nine ETC Source 4's with dichroics helped make the altar visible.

Victoria Coeln

Vienna-based Victoria Coeln  has created light spaces, installations and visualizations throughout Austria, Germany, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.  You can see some of her acclaimed work at

Joel Svendsen December 05, 2011 Questions?

About Joel Svendsen

Marketing Director: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. Joel's knowledge about Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our different marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.