More a sculpture than a building

Zumtobel lights up a new temple of art in Lower Austria

On 25th and 26th May 2019, the time has come: A new focal point of the Kunstmeile (art mile) in the town of Krems finally opens its wide and light-filled archways, as guests are invited to attend the official opening of the Landesgalerie Niederösterreich (Lower Austrian State Gallery). The five-storey building, designed by multi-award-winning architects Marte.Marte, has a major influence on this unique landscape at the gateway to the stunning Wachau World Heritage Site. The spectacular construction, reminiscent of a dancing cube, is brilliantly showcased with a lighting concept from Zumtobel.

The customised ring luminaires and downlights featuring tunableWhite technology create a relaxed natural atmosphere. © Zumtobel / Faruk Pinjo

“When I say art, I mean the whole thing” is written in German in imposing letters on the walls of the newly built Landesgalerie Niederösterreich – a building that seems to stretch like a flexible and pliable cube in two different directions: to the historical city centre and to the famous River Danube. The intricate contours of the outer wall, with its spherically curved glass installations, have different effects from different perspectives. At certain points the arched surfaces appear to be an escape route, while at others, the facade looks more like an overhanging cliff face – sometimes calm and heavy, sometimes nimble and bursting with movement. The monochrome sculptural arts centre has been designed by the brothers Stefan and Bernhard Marte, founders of the Marte.Marte architectural studio. The Landesgalerie Niederösterreich boasts more than 3000 square metres of exhibition space and guides visitors through the new four-storey museum building to the presentation area in the basement, which in turn connects this venue to the neighbouring Kunsthalle Krems gallery.

The carved panoramic viewing terrace on the third floor and the large unevenly shaped glass arches in the entrance area help saturate the third floor and the ground floor with daylight. In stark contrast, the first and second storeys and the 850-square-metre basement are virtually devoid of windows. And with good reason: This is where light-sensitive pieces and valuable loan exhibits are shown. As the lighting partner of the Landesgalerie Niederösterreich, Zumtobel was faced with the complex challenge of combining conservation issues and economic goals with organisational factors and specific design requirements. And all in a comprehensive lighting concept.

Illuminate artwork authentically
One major demand placed on the lighting solution was to present the artworks as authentically as possible. Zumtobel therefore used project-specific fittings that achieve optimal colour rendering (Ra > 90) for the general illumination of the exhibition areas. In addition, track luminaires with a colour temperature of 3000K – a warm and pleasant light colour – were selected by the Austrian lighting specialist for the floors without daylight. At the same time, visitors in areas where natural light plays a key role will experience a colour temperature of 4000K – a neutral-white tone that expertly simulates the light colour most closely associated with the middle of the day.

A colour temperature of 4000K – a neutral-white tone © Zumtobel / Faruk Pinjo
A colour temperature of 3000K – a warm and pleasant light colour © Zumtobel / Faruk Pinjo

Illuminate the bistro naturally
A relaxed natural atmosphere is also created in the museum bistro, thanks to a range of customised ring luminaires and downlights featuring tunableWhite technology. These solutions echo the dynamics of natural light and deliver warm, neutral and cold-white light colours to ensure the right lighting mood. Depending on the specific requirements of the guests. And the time of day, naturally.

The customised ring luminaires and downlights featuring tunableWhite technology create a relaxed natural atmosphere. © Zumtobel / Faruk Pinjo

Illuminate the stairwells cosily
The attractive ONDARIA round luminaire sets strong accents in the stairwells and generates a cosy and interesting atmosphere, using soft wide-area light to perfectly blend design considerations with the overall lit effect.

The attractive ONDARIA round luminaire sets strong accents in the stairwells and generates a cosy and interesting atmosphere. © Zumtobel / Faruk Pinjo

Illuminate the outdoor area softly
In the outdoor area, at the front of the museum and on the viewing terrace and façade, the SUPERSYSTEM outdoor LED solution takes a new approach to outdoor lighting by putting the emphasis firmly on task-specific illumination. Multiple light tubes, carefully recessed in special square poles, form uniquely sophisticated light masts that even offer space for cameras and WLAN transmitters. In this way, the outdoor lighting enjoys real benefits in terms of visual quality, design competence and fine precision, while outstanding glare control boosts visual comfort and generates a real sense of well-being. SUPERSYSTEM outdoor modules have also been incorporated into the actual façade, which in turn is illuminated by Contrast 2 LED spotlights from the Thorn brand – another member of the Zumtobel Group family. These spotlights are equipped with holographic filters to ideally showcase the intriguing contours of the museum. All the exterior luminaires have been supplied in special colour finishes to complement the core architectural concept.

© Zumtobel / Faruk Pinjo

Collaboration between Marte.Marte and Zumtobel
The state gallery in Lower Austria is not the first project in which Zumtobel has supported Marte.Marte with its specialist expertise. Indeed, Zumtobel has worked as a trusted lighting partner with the renowned architects from the Austrian county of Vorarlberg on numerous joint projects over the years. These include the impressive new buildings at the Messe Dornbirn presentation and events centre, the “Appearing Sculptural” and “Concrete Works” expositions at the Zumtobel Light Forum in Dornbirn, a collaboration at the 2016 Venice Biennale and a joint initiative in 2017 to devise the centrepiece for the opening of a new exhibition venue as part of the Art Bodensee contemporary art fair.

Messe Dornbirn © Zumtobel
Messe Dornbirn © Zumtobel