Photo credit: FORM Bureau, Vlad Oblasov

6 Museum Exhibitions Where Lighting is “La Pièce de Résistance”

A museum’s lighting is a powerful medium as it conveys a story and presents a concept while creating the perfect stage for man’s creativity and ingenuity.

The following winners of the LIT Visitor Experience & Museum Exhibition not only imbue the elements necessary in lighting design but at the same time provides progressive solutions for transcending environments. These creative innovations ultimately place the wholistic experience of art in a modern, sustainable and unforgettable light.

Museum Goldkammer, Frankfurt

Photo credit: Licht Kunst Licht AG
Photo credit: Licht Kunst Licht AG

The Museum Goldkrammer in Frankfurt is a spectacular display of rich textures and surreal illumination in a space dedicated to 500 pieces of gold on display. From the fascinating gold’s origin in space to the element’s varying cultural symbols, you’ll find the 480 sqm museum an interesting space to be at.

Refined lighting is used to make the room more visually expansive and with the light through underground tunnels and vaults of the property. The gorgeous lighting highlights the exhibits beautifully while remaining unostentatious to the view.

Photo credit: Licht Kunst Licht AG
Photo credit: Licht Kunst Licht AG

The fascinating space took four years before its realization. Finally opening to the public in May 2019 where it succeeded in providing a captivating air for the varying themes of the 500 gold exhibits.

Holmegaard Værk, Denmark

Photo credit: Lightscapes Aps
Photo credit: Lightscapes Aps

The Holmegaard Værk has a long-standing history with glass as it was once home and workplace to generations of glassworkers. This historical significance makes the venue even more fitting to house the curated glass art exhibits. Paying homage to the 200 years as an atmospheric site of craftsmanship, the pieces of machinery were left as they are, giving visitors a glimpse of the past.

Which such significance, the Holmegaard Værk is designed primarily to preserve and showcase a huge collection of glass art while educating its spectators. The museum is located at Holmegaard, Denmark with the largest glass collection in the Nordic region where it currently holds 42,000 Holmegaard glass and has over 6,000 original Kähler objects making it the largest Kähler collection as well.

Photo credit: Lightscapes Aps
Photo credit: Lightscapes Aps

A Winner in the Visitor Experience & Museum Exhibition, the Holmegaard Værk lighting design utilizes daylight as the main source of illumination and is supplemented with white LED and coloured electric lighting. The interplay of light, shadow, and the colour of gold creates a strong dynamic quality while the shifting from natural light to LED lighting adds to the movement and experience of the space. Aside from the excellent utilization of contrast, colour, and brightness to enhance the holistic experience of visitors, the lighting is carefully designed to prevent damage to the exhibits.  The white LED lighting was the best choice as it does not produce IR or UV light that can damage the artwork making it sensitive to the environment.

Winchester Cathedral, Winchester

Photo credit: Sutton Vane Associates
Photo credit: Sutton Vane Associates

A Winner in the Visitor Experience and Museum Exhibition, Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation is a stunning historical exhibition housed at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire England, a venue that bears historical significance in itself.

The lighting design challenge is to create a balanced illumination while protecting the integrity of the exhibits and revealing the collection to the best advantage.

Photo credit: Sutton Vane Associates
Photo credit: Sutton Vane Associates

Lead by Mark Sutton-Vane of Sutton Vane Associates integrates light-sensitive luminaires with a maximum of 50 lux to highlight the rare collection of valuable bibles. To even lower the light exposure, a special lighting system of hanging chains is used. In spite of the limitations given by the sensitivity of its exhibits, the lighting design did an amazing effect of highlighting the historical items such as showing and highlighting the character of the stone faces.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, AL

Photo credit: Lam Partners
Photo credit: Lam Partners

Honouring the stories of people who out of violence were snuffed out and silenced, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice commemorates the history of racial injustice. This national lynching memorial gives voice and public recognition and through illumination creates a transitional space.

As one approaches the monument, you’ll notice rectangular boxes on the horizon with an air of mystery, and getting closer the light below reveals the hanging corten steel monuments. Finally in the midst are 800 six feet monuments hanging above where each is lit from below with a narrow beam of light. The dappled effect where light and shadow combine creates an uneven illumination indicating that there are too many monuments to count. Interestingly, the varying lighting creates an effect signifying that no two monuments are the same thus not one shade of black people in America. The evenly spaced monuments are etched with the names of the lynching victims on each of the monuments. Interestingly,

Photo credit: Lam Partners
Photo credit: Lam Partners

Situated on top of a six-acre sacred site in Montgomery, Alabama, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is the ever first national memorial to victims of lynching in the US. A winner in Visitor Experience and Museum Exhibition. Designed by Lam Partners led by Keitch Yancey and Dan Weissman.

The Gulag History Museum, Moscow

Photo credit: Yarko Lighting Design Studio
Photo credit: Yarko Lighting Design Studio

The Winner in Visitor Experience and Museum Exhibition evokes a moody and dark ambience evident as one goes through the dark boxes and a corridor. This architectural concept is drawn from the people’s repressive living conditions during the years under the Soviet regime. Cold lighting is used to give visitors an experience of the feeling of unstopping draught in barracks. Special lenses were used to correct 3000K of existing light that is brought down to 4000K. This way it adjusts the colour temperature without losing the colour rendering index. Cracks from the walls allow light to pass through, which simulates natural lighting. This light through the cracks allows you to navigate through the exhibit and symbolizes a light of hope. Meanwhile, a warm colour temperature is used to represent of life and hope of people through showcasing their personal belongings.

Photo credit: Yarko Lighting Design Studio
Photo credit: Yarko Lighting Design Studio

The GULAG Museum revisits the past with lighting as a critical element to achieve the experience. The museum was completed in October 2018 in Moscow, Samotechny line, 9-1 and designed by the Yarko Lighting Design Studio led by Ksenia Lanikina.

“MMOMA 99/19” Anniversary Exhibition, Russia

Photo credit: FORM Bureau, Vlad Oblasov
Photo credit: FORM Bureau, Vlad Oblasov

The MMOMA 99/19 Anniversary Exhibition in Moscow Russia is a celebration of modern art where 20 independent artists are given a set as guest curators. The lead designer for the lighting project is Vlad Oblasov of Form Bureau and completed in December 2020.

Taking into account the uniqueness of 20 different artists, the different museum exhibits use clever lighting to try to convey what makes each artist unique. Applying different lighting colours, each artist’s (who is also a curator) personality is reflected.

As an example, the ballerina Diana Vishneva has a hall with pieces of artwork hanging with transparent constructions to convey flight. The voyager Feodor Konyukov meanwhile has nets to symbolize grid coordinates on a map.

Photo credit: FORM Bureau, Vlad Oblasov
Photo credit: FORM Bureau, Vlad Oblasov
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