Skyspace Lech
Lech am Arlberg, Austria
Architect: Baumschlager Eberle (AT)
Photos: © James Turrell Photo: Florian Holzherr
Artist: James Turrell
Light as a metaphor for sensory perception: James Turrell realises Skyspace Lech with a special lighting solution from Zumtobel

The largely underground Skyspace Lech created by light artist James Turrell blends discreetly into the high-alpine landscape of the Arlberg mountains in western Austria. Those passing by see little more than an elliptical dome and a similarly rounded construction made from natural stone. Yet below these unassuming features lies an oval light room with an opening in the ceiling that offers a truly unique view of the sky, helping to bring the heavens closer to the observer. A customised lighting solution from Zumtobel immerses this light-experience space in a varied series of colours and actively shapes the sensory perception of visitors.

James Turrell is one of the most important artists of our time. The American creative pioneer has been working on light spaces since the 1960s, crafting installations that provide sensory and spiritual experiences through a subtle interplay between natural and artificial light, materiality, surface, colour and space. Turrell devises his Skyspaces to achieve a unique connection between the earth and the sky. As a long-standing lighting partner of James Turrell, Zumtobel has assisted with various projects and has already supported him several times with the technically demanding realisation of his exceptional works of art.

The impressive effect of Turrell’s light-poetic contemporary art can really be experienced in his latest project in the stunning natural scenery of the Arlberg, nestled between hiking trails, alpine passes and stunning mountains. On the initiative of the private „Horizon Field“ society, an organisation that promotes cultural projects in the county of Vorarlberg, a new Skyspace has taken shape in the alpine landscape around the picturesque village of Lech am Arlberg. The installation is accessed by an underground tunnel that has been carefully aligned to deliver dramatic views of the imposing Biberkopf peak, before finally opening out into the light space itself. As the sun rises behind the Biberkopf on the summer solstice, the first rays of sunshine reach the so-called Sensing Room, where elliptical openings carved into the ceiling offer stunning views of the Arlberg sky – a sky that appears so close, it almost seems somehow dreamlike. In order to guide the sensory perception of visitors even more intensively, Turrell has flooded the subterranean building in a changing series of bright light colours. A unique feature of the Skyspace Lech is the integration of another key concept associated with the light and spatial artist – the “Ganzfeldraum” – which really takes effect when the dome is closed. This “Ganzfeld” or “full-field” approach to light art from James Turrell involves a completely featureless, evenly flooded field of vision that provides no orientation due to its perfect homogeneity.

The special lighting solution from Zumtobel, which features an Amber LED strip with RGB colour changing function and a tunableWhite stripe, was programmed in advance in close coordination with James Turrell. This installation is regulated by a LUXMATE DMX controls system, while opal diffusers have been chosen to make the lighting transition from the beginning of the passageway to the actual Skypace room as gentle as possible.

The design of Skyspace Lech started with Turrell making a comprehensive set of drawings and sketches. Based on these exact artistic specifications, Austrian architects Baumschlager Eberle from Lustenau planned the highly complex building, in collaboration with its long-standing lighting partner Zumtobel. The extreme weather, the impact of humans and animals, safeguarding safety and the shape, statics and requirements in terms of angles and surfaces, as well as the perfect illumination of the different spaces, together represented an extraordinary challenge for the planners. The aim of the Horizon Field society, the architects and the companies involved was to realise a construction that meets the very highest functional and aesthetic standards. This naturally meant that all of these aspects and other additional factors had to be carefully taken into account, so that the building materials and LED technology specified for the project could comfortably withstand the sun, heat, rain, snow, ice and cold. Indeed, strong temperature fluctuations ranging from minus 25 degrees to plus 30 degrees are not uncommon in this region during the course of the year. As the structure is largely underground, only the dome, the natural stone base and a light, metal cupola are visible from outside.

“Light is so much more than just lighting. It influences our feelings, our thoughts and our actions. It is therefore very important for us, as an international lighting company, to show people what light can really do – beyond the familiar applications. James Turrell’s art puts light in a very poetic and sensory context and makes observers somehow feel with their eyes,” explained Karin Zumtobel, Head of Culture & Arts Zumtobel Group.

Skyspace Lech is just the latest project in which Zumtobel has provided James Turrell with specialist expertise, having worked alongside him as a lighting partner since 1997. The artist designed the 2014/2015 Zumtobel Group annual report, while other collaborations have included Turrell's light installations for the Skyspace at the Kunsthalle Bremen gallery in 2010, the “Apani” full-field (Ganzfeld) artwork in 2011 and “Bridget's Bardo”, the largest ever full-field project for the Museum of Art in Wolfsburg in 2009. Zumtobel has also fulfilled the role of lighting partner to James Turrell on initiatives such as “Tall Glass Shonto”, “The Geometry of Light” and “The Elliptical Glass”.

Zumtobel. The Light.

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Art Gallery Mannheim
Mannheim, Germany
Owner: Kunsthalle, Mannheim (DE)
Architect: gmp-Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner (DE)
Lighting design: a·g Licht (DE)
A creative powerhouse for the arts – Zumtobel lights up a new building at the Kunsthalle Mannheim

Showcasing art with light is a Zumtobel specialty. Planning and realising a high-quality and perfectly tailored lighting solution not only helps preserve works of art, but also supports both the overall concept of the exhibition and the architecture of the museum. And that is exactly what has been achieved in close cooperation with a·g Licht at the Kunsthalle Mannheim – the largest new building at a German art museum in recent years. As a cultural temple to the urban future of Mannheim, architects from the Gerkan, Marg and Partner (gmp) architectural office have crafted a design that creates an elegant “city in the city”.

As an essential part of the curatorial concept, light fundamentally shapes the emotional perception of architecture and art, helping observers to make a real sensory connection with the pieces on show. The seemingly simple-looking new building at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, which was recently opened to much fanfare after three years of construction, houses a radical museum concept – a concept in which the emotions behind the art play a role. A key role. The 68.3-million-euro building is currently the largest new construction at an art museum in the whole of Germany and has attracted almost 90,000 visitors in the first three months. Yet it is more than just the exceptional idea of the museum that draws people here. The unique architecture has also caught the eye. The Kunsthalle Mannheim is in fact a “city in the city”, where ten cubes invite visitors to really engage with the most varied aspects of art.

The scale of the rooms and especially the atrium, a 22-metre-high space awash with daylight, placed special demands on the lighting concept – which is why a clever solution devised by lighting design agency a·g Licht was required to place the 13,000 square metres of floor space in just the right light. Various factors helped Daniel Walden from a·g Licht make the call to involve Zumtobel with this lighting concept (and not just the long-standing cooperation between the two companies). “Zumtobel impressed with a high degree of lighting comfort and light quality, but also with their extensive portfolio of accessories, which has enabled us to tailor the light intensity and thereby accurately meet the changing requirements of the exhibition lighting. Because that is exactly what the “museum in motion” concept needs: flexibility and adaptability,” explained Daniel Walden.

A highly adaptable and individually tailored lighting installation has been carefully designed for the first special exhibition: assorted works by the photo artist Jeff Wall, which ran until the start of September. However, while the lighting installation at the Kunsthalle perfectly showcased Wall's concept photography exhibition, Zumtobel has also made sure that the solution can provide optimal staging for other exhibitions in the future. Just like “The Construction of the World: Art and Economy” (Konstruktion der Welt: Kunst und Ökonomie), the first major theme-based exhibition at the Kunsthalle Mannheim that opened on 11. October 2018. The exhibits and the atrium are highlighted using ARCOS 3 LED xpert spotlights. The result: flawless accents and excellent efficiency. Indeed, the museum has already ordered another 250 ARCOS 3 LED xpert fittings to further extend the installation. At the same time, the DIAMO and PANOS infinity lighting systems have been combined with illuminated ceilings to deliver ideal illumination at all times in the spaces adjacent to the exhibition cubicles. All thanks to various personalisation options and high-quality accent lighting. This unique lighting installation has made the theory of a “museum in motion” a reality – and at the same time given exhibits a fresh and truly authentic appearance.

The visionary building design from gmp Architekten integrates urban quality through a refined interior structure. In terms of the architecture, the construction meets all the requirements of the 21st century – in much the same way as the pioneering lighting concept. Daniel Walden and the lighting designers at a·g Licht in Bonn have been working together with Zumtobel for years. So they certainly appreciate the intensive partnership-based cooperation offered by the in-house lighting experts from the lighting manufacturer’s “Atelier of Light” project-planning department. This is where flexibility, versatility and customer focus are key – three cornerstones of the Zumtobel approach.

Zumtobel. The Light.

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Lighting solution
Wartburg Castle Eisenach
Eisenach, Germany
Owner: Wartburg Castle Eisenach (DE)
Towering over the Thuringian city of Eisenach, Wartburg Castle today fulfils a number of different roles. As well as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important monument to world history, the imposing complex is also now the venue for a special national exhibition entitled “Luther and the Germans”, planned to mark the Year of Martin Luther. SUPERSYSTEM II from Zumtobel caught the eye during the tender process for the new lighting solution, impressing the exhibition organisers with its perfect blend of LED technology, flexibility and minimalist design.

UNESCO made Wartburg Castle a World Heritage site in 1999, confirming its status as a prime example of architecture from the feudal period. The late Romanesque great hall and the architectural renovations from later centuries impressively illustrate 950 years of German history. The complex from the 12th century is the most popular Luther-related cultural site in the world, with more than 350,000 visitors each year coming to see where the famous reformer translated the New Testament into German, laying the foundations for a standardised German written language.

The latest lighting technology from Zumtobel has been chosen for a new national exhibition, organised as part of a series of celebrations to mark the Year of Luther, replacing a lighting system that was more than 20 years old. The multifunctional SUPERSYSTEM II LED light system can now be found throughout large swathes of the 1000-square-metre exhibition space, providing a striking new look for both the venue itself and around 300 exhibits. The miniaturised modular system with a low-voltage track and a wide range of light inserts delivers special lighting accents and a variety of different lit effects.

Zumtobel lighting solution offers high versatility and excellent design flexibility
Miniature spotlights that measure just 45mm are mounted on a sleek track, which is only 30mm high and 26mm wide, to guarantee outstanding design flexibility. This enabled Zumtobel to make full use of the existing cable outlets in the Wartburg, as the historic ceiling negated the possibility to install new wiring. The versatility of SUPERSYSTEM II has also been shown by the integration of various different spotlight versions with heads that can be rotated 360 degrees and swivelled 90 degrees. The careful combination LED boards, lenses and foils helps shape uniform light distributions with high intensity and a smooth lighting transition – without the unwanted presence of stray light. The interchangeable foils enable different light distributions, as a mixture of contour, flood and spot versions illuminate the Wartburg and the items on show. A potentiometer has been mounted directly on the spotlights to make sure that the lighting level does not exceed 50 lux, helping to preserve the prized exhibits.

The delicate and restrained design language of the lighting system emphasises the historic architecture of Wartburg Castle. In addition, different colour versions of the die-cast aluminium light heads support the subtle integration of the luminaires into a wide range of decors and architectural settings. Zumtobel selected black-lacquered luminaires for the rooms with a 15th-century wooden ceiling, while white versions have been installed in spaces with a lighter ceiling.

The Wartburg Foundation in Eisenach benefits from the new lighting solution in several ways. As well as presenting the special exhibition in the best possible light, high efficiency and longer maintenance intervals have led directly to a reduction in energy and maintenance costs. The design of the SUPERSYSTEM II range also means that components can be easily retrofitted and replaced during day-to-day operation.

Zumtobel. The Light.

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Lighting solution
Abu Dhabi
Architect: Jean Nouvel
Photos: Louvre Abu Dhabi: Roland Halbe, Marc Domage, Mohamed Somji
The Louvre Abu Dhabi in the Saadiyat Island cultural district is a universal museum of the Arab world, forming a compelling artistic connection between Eastern and Western art. For this purpose, works from all over the world will be showcased there - from prehistoric artefacts to contemporary highlights. Yet the architecture itself also represents a spectacular masterpiece, for which French star architect Jean Nouvel has created a magical oasis of light. The architectural centrepiece is a giant circular dome with a diameter of 180 metres, which is mounted discreetly on four columns to give the impression that it is floating. The ornamental ceiling structure filters the sunlight during the day and generates a rich series of lighting effects, similar to the way sunrays shine through the natural patterns formed by date palms in an oasis. When the sun goes down, the lighting system from Zumtobel takes over and, conversely, makes the light shine artistically from the inside through the distinctive structure of the dome to the outside world.

Zumtobel achieved this impression by creating CHROMOSOME light, a customised solution designed specifically for the unique giant dome. CHROMOSOME light is a version of the CHIARO FT moisture-proof luminaire incorporating a special heat sink to cope with the high temperatures of Abu Dhabi. Part of the light passes through the fully transparent luminaire housing, before being reflected by the ceiling and walls to generate a bright and pleasant spatial effect. Different lux values are used to achieve two results: a glowing impression when viewed from distance and welcoming daylight-like illumination below the actual dome. The adjustable white lamps enable a range of different colour temperatures to be produced by around 4000 CHROMOSOME fittings that have been installed in the museum. Different lighting scenarios can therefore be generated, depending on the time of day or the particular conditions. This process is fully automated thanks to a LUXMATE LITENET control system and a sky scanner, which has been programmed to monitor the natural daylight shining through the spectacular dome and then add the necessary dosage of artificial light.

The dome covers a series of art galleries, with 55 square buildings arranged like a medina – a traditional old town in the Arab world. This represented a special challenge for the lighting systems: the lux values within each gallery have to be carefully regulated in line with the sensitivity of the particular works of art. The curators at the Louvre defined three levels for the exhibits: works of art with a light ceiling of 600,000 lux, 150,000 lux and 37,500 lux per year. This means that the pieces with an annual lighting limit of 600,000 lux can only be exposed to a maximum of 125 lux during operating hours. This level falls to 22 lux for exhibits with a top yearly limit of 150,000 lux. Within the galleries, various other lighting solutions find their place: LIGHT FIELDS, HELISSA, CHIARO, DIAMO LED, PANOS infinity and PERLUCE provide application-specific lighting and optimal presentation of more than 620 exhibit objects throughout 6,400 square metres of space.

Zumtobel solved this issue by carefully devising two lighting control concepts, which make sure that the specific lux value in each gallery is not exceeded. The first system is an automatic daylight-dependent light and blind control that classifies the amount of light entering the museum from the outside into four categories, enabling a curator to select light shielding levels of 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. The smart blinds receive the required information from the daylight sensors. However, as more intensive “sunlight patches” can sometimes reach the works of art, special additional sensors have been placed directly next to the exhibits. These components record the exact lux values that the pieces are exposed to and then precisely calculate the annual lux data. The sensors are set up to send out a warning if the prescribed limits are reached. In this way example, the intelligent LUXMATE LITENET lighting management system from Zumtobel not only protects the works of art, but also delivers energy and cost savings through the smart integration of daylight sensors, motion detectors and time control.

Zumtobel lighting solutions were also used in other areas. In the Museography Gallery, the TECTON continuous-row LED lighting system was installed in the glass ceiling for emergency lighting, while TUBILUX is used for external emergency lighting. SCUBA moisture-proof luminaires are used in the corridors and technical rooms, while AERO II provides lighting for the offices and control areas in the basement.

Zumtobel. The Light.

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Lighting solution
Paris, France
Architect: Richard Duplat und Dominique Brard (FR)
Lighting design: Stéphanie Daniel (FR)
After a complete restoration project lasting three years, the magnificent Hotel Biron, which has housed the Rodin Museum in Paris since 1919, reopened on 12th November 2015 - the 175th anniversary of the birth of the renowned French sculptor. Richard Duplat, Chief Architect of Historic Monuments, led the historic renovation of the building, whilst revisions to the museography and the upgrading of standards throughout the museum were planned and implemented by the architect Dominique Brard of l’Atelier de l’Île.

The new Rodin Museum now presents the work of the sculptor in a more comprehensive manner, helping a wide audience gain a better understanding of the history, work and techniques of Auguste Rodin. The lighting concept imagined by Stéphanie Daniel is very much focused on the effective highlighting of the sculptures. Once the IYON LED spotlight was chosen, thanks to its high CRI rating of 90 and compact form, Stéphanie Daniel worked together with engineers from Zumtobel to adapt the design of the product by replacing the glass diffuser and white louvres with a honeycomb material. The patented reflector-lens system enables a precise photometric distribution. Based on the PI-LED technology, the Tunable White technology makes it possible to vary the colour temperature between 2600 K and 5300 K. Finally, the lighting management programme was configured to include different scenarios specific to each spotlight, depending on the particular work of art, the season and the time of day.

The spotlights all differ in intensity and around half of them vary in terms of colour temperature. In this way, variations of natural light can be taken into account whilst still very much respecting the contrasts on the works. A photometric curve has been extrapolated for each luminaire and reflected in the LITENET lighting management system that operates the entire installation. Thanks to this combination of considered planning and innovative technology, it has been possible to exquisitely preserve the subtle connection between daylight and artificial light throughout the course of the day and the different seasons.

Zumtobel. The Light.

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