Lighting candlesThe Marian pilgrimage site of Scherpenheuvel has existed for over 400 years and remains the most popular pilgrimage town in the Benelux. Many pilgrims light a candle for the Virgin Mary during their visit. This age-old popular devotion is flourishing once more despite the erosion in support the Catholic Church is currently facing. Visitors light a candle in remembrance, to ask a question, or to reflect on something. There is a human story behind every lit candle. The votive candle chapels symbolize the union with Mary. People are not alone in their joy, their worries or their grief.
Religious symbolismScherpenheuvel and the pilgrimage site in particular are permeated with "Marian symbolism". It is, as it were, a total work of art that emblematically shapes the symbolic vision of the Blessed Virgin. Urbanism, architecture, painting and sculpture each contribute to the project in their own way.
To design contemporary solutions for a historical siteThe pilgrimage site of Scherpenheuvel asked us to design new candle chapels to replace the old ones. A restoration of the old chapels was not an option since they had no historical value and, moreover, they were not part of a new overall vision for the revaluation of the Pilgrimage site. Our unique challenge was to re-interpret intimate historical design objectives and to revive them in a contemporary solution. Both the functional design of the chapel and the emotional experience of burning candles were central to this challenge.