Zumtobel LEDs light art object at Kunstkammer Wien

Contemporary LED lighting fixtures, including the Starbrick, have been specially designed to illuminate a newly reopened museum in Austria.

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Zumtobel has developed a customised LED lighting approach for the reopening of the Kun-stkammer museum in Vienna, Austria. The company says that the LED lighting provides “highly differentiated, gentle and effective illumination of the various objects on display.”

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Kunstkammer Wien
The Kunstkammer (literally, chambers of art and natural wonders) has been closed for more than 10 years, and reopened on March 1. The 2200 exhibits include a wide variety of works of art: among the highlights are outstanding works of the goldsmith’s art, such as the famous Saliera by Benvenuto Cellini; first-rate specimens of sculpture, such as the Krumau Madonna; as well as bronze statuettes, filigree ivory objects, precious clocks, games and scientific instruments.

The LED lighting scheme was able to fulfil the exacting conservation requirements of the museum. “The point was literally to present the objects in the best possible light. All exhibits are originals, and each of them has its very special aura that we want visitors to be able to feel and experience,” said Sabine Haag, general director of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

At the heart of the lighting scheme is the Starbrick, developed by Zumtobel in collaboration with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The installation includes a total of 51 Starbrick assemblies consisting of four modules each, especially designed for illuminating the unique and sensitive works of art.

The Starbrick’s basic structure is a cube, on whose six surfaces additional cubes have been placed at an angle of 45°. These additional cubes serve as connectors to combine several Starbrick modules.

Additional direct light is supplied by integrated Supersystem spotlights and indirect light is provided by a Panos Infinity module, while one of the Starbrick's surfaces that is directed downwards doubles as emergency lighting.

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Starbrick LED fixture
“Due to the height of the ceiling, we had to increase the levels of light intensity, but the original shape of the Starbrick remained unchanged. Taking the historical rooms into particular considera-tion, a highly specific Starbrick assembly was created, so that the modules work like a picture, like stars in the sky,” said Eliasson.

In addition to LED Supersystem spotlights mounted on the walls, single Supersystem spotlights were also installed in the showcases. Here, the benefits of LED technology were fully exploited, for example by matching the light colors to the colors and materials of the exhibits.

“Illuminating this significant and unique collection in a contemporary way has been a special project for us. In collaboration with architects, designers and Olafur Eliasson we managed to develop a lighting solution that is in line with the new concept of the Kunstkammer, meeting the most demanding conservation requirements and providing the best light for an unrestricted enjoyment of art,” said Reinhardt Wurzer, director international projects, Zumtobel Lighting.

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