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Lighting design makes museum one of the world's most energy-efficient

Photo: COWI

Moesgaard Museum by Aarhus, Denmark, has a new museum building of international standards. COWI's lighting designers have created the museum's unique lighting, which accentuates the beautiful architecture and secures good escape routes.

When darkness falls over the hills of Skaade Bakker outside of Aarhus, the new Moesgaard Museum stands out like a lit sculpture against the night sky. More than 200 miniature light bollards follow its contours and throw light on and around the museum building, giving it the air of a beautiful sculpture in the landscape.

"We designed the outdoor lighting to be both decorative and subtle, while acting as escape route lighting. We've succeeded 100 per cent in meeting many contradictory requirements from fire safety authorities and architects, which we can be proud of," says Jørgen Kjer, COWI's lighting designer in charge of inventing and implementing the lighting design.

For the assignment, the lighting designers had a small LED luminaire designed for the architectonic lighting, which is integrated in the lawn around the building. Each of these small low luminaires – which are used in abundance – emit a relatively soft light that does not spoil the great evening view over Aarhus Bay.

A sense of nature within the building

Within the foyer and the visitor stairway, the lighting design helps create the right atmosphere and emphasise the architecture.

"We've used the so-called GOBO lighting to create pseudo-daylight conditions, day and night, by means of artificial lighting. Using projections of the sun through leaves and branches, we pull the nature into the rooms. It works really well – it adds to the visitors' experience, while creating the feeling of daylight and nature," explains Kjer.

"Furthermore, we've fitted LED light sources on the walls instead of the floors, which is how it's typically done. By lighting the walls directly, you get the same lighting experience, but use less light. 50 lux on the walls create the same lighting experience as 100 or 150 lux on the floor.

Lighting vertical surfaces creates a nicer light and saves a lot of energy, which makes Moesgaard one of the most energy-efficient museum in the world."

In addition to lighting design, COWI provided consultancy on energy concepts, acoustics, fire safety and sustainable solutions.


By Helen Marie Bennett, hmbe@cowi.com
Published 22.10.2014

LAST UPDATED: 29.09.2017