Four fascinating decades of technological, sound and cultural history – chronicled by 75 exhibits – have found a unique home in the Grammophonicum. What began as a temporary exhibition has now become a permanent fixture at Vorarlberger Museumswelt, a collection of museums under one roof. The exhibition is all thanks to the insatiable passion for collecting of Reinhard Häfele, who brought gramophones from all over the world to Vorarlberg.
It has been brought to life not just by the historical – in some cases quirky – rarities, but also by the beautifully designed space and an integrated music show, which brings sounds from the past into the here and now. Lighting solution partner Martin Welte from Elektrizitätswerke Frastanz has perfectly positioned numerous spotlights and downlights to show off every single exhibit to stunning effect, emphasising the design elements. Enhanced lighting that accompanies the music show with highly effective lighting accents can be activated using a tablet or smartphone. These lights are programmed and controlled by the lighting management system LITECOM.
"There is a dedicated spotlight for almost every object. Because of this, the focus remains clearly on the exhibits despite there being a large number of them."
How did you arrange the downlights and spotlights to accentuate the many different exhibits and the special design of the Grammophonicum?
Martin Welte: The Grammophonicum is a round room, shaped like a gramophone record, with a glass wall all the way around it. The gramophones are displayed behind the glass. To present the exhibits in the best possible way, there is a dedicated spotlight for almost every single one. We used medium-sized, 850-lumen SUPERSYSTEM spotlights. The boards describing the exhibits are lit by the smallest, 350-lumen version. Even though there are a lot of spotlights, you barely notice them. To achieve this effect, recesses were made in the ceiling so we could put the luminaires into them.
An oversized gramophone record is suspended from the centre of the ceiling and is illuminated by a single PANOS downlight. Indirect light creates an evocative ambience. The low illuminance of 30 to 50 lux is in perfect harmony with the intimacy of the small room. As there is a large amount of brass, we opted for a colour temperature of 3,000 Kelvin.
To present the unique sound of the gramophones to visitors, pieces of music are played one after another for different exhibits. What role does the lighting play here?
Martin Welte: As soon as a recording of a particular gramophone starts playing, the illuminance for that exhibit is turned up to the maximum – which ensures it draws everyone’s full attention. The lighting for the rest of the exhibits is dimmed slightly at the same time, although they are still visible. To further highlight the piece being presented, we have also installed cool-white, 4,000-Kelvin spotlights. Both the music and the lighting are controlled by the LITECOM lighting management system. It is very easy to use with the accompanying app. The light scenes are pre-programmed and can be started very easily using a tablet or smartphone. The museum, which is designed to resemble a turntable, is illuminated atmospherically by a combination of SUPERSYSTEM spotlights and PANOS downlights.