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 architects 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.