Helmut Newton Foundation
The Helmut Newton Foundation at the Berlin’s Museum for Photography
Visitors to the museum enter an open two-story lobby from which the broad staircase sweeps up and round. The high ceiling is articulated by an arrangement of square coffers. In the corners of each coffer is set an incandescent lamp in a stucco rosette. These lamps with a life of up to 10,000 hours are design features rather than lighting elements and refer to fragments of decoration discovered during the refurbishment work. The brilliant and festive light of the hall and circulation zone is provided by flush recessed double-focus downlights at the center of each coffer. The use of high-efficiency, ceramic metal halide technology and the integration of the incandescent lamps as design elements have created a solution that is both maintenance- and energy-efficient.
The row of coffers directly above the “Big Nudes” is fitted with high-efficiency low-voltage halogen wall washers, which combine optimum illumination of the images with the highest quality color rendering.
About 1,000 photographic works constitute the stock from which the exhibition team draws for the changing Newton exhibitions. Alongside various paper documents, photographs and exhibition posters, the three-dimensional exhibits are brought to life by projectors or are displayed in illuminated display cabinets.
The directional light of the projectors creates shadows and highlights on the exhibits, giving them their life-like, three-dimensional quality. Spread lenses and honeycomb louvers ensure glare-free illumination and a light distribution tailored to the exhibit. Three-circuit tracks offer maximum freedom of the layout and lighting fixture directionality. In this case, two tracks have been installed in parallel black ceiling channels.
The lighting of the exhibition space on the upper floor is restricted to large, frameless, luminous ceiling panels. These are outlined by generous shadow channels, which conceal the air-conditioning vents and accommodate supplementary power tracks for accent illumination. The constantly changing exhibits are generously bathed in soft light.
The lighting concept follows the structural mainframe of the building. In almost all spaces the ceiling is articulated by main and auxiliary beams with the lighting design referencing the coffering of these surfaces. This has been interpreted, however, in a completely different way on the upper floor than in the stairwell and circulation zones. The result is a diversified solution that contrasts a balanced light distribution for the images on display with accentuating lighting effects for the exhibits from Helmut Newton’s life. At the same time the lighting concept allows for great flexibility for a change of atmosphere for different exhibitions.
“The luminous ceilings as a universal design component and the 3-circuit tracks for flexible, individual configurations create outstanding visual conditions for changing exhibitions and the multi-facetted nature of Newton’s oeuvre.”
– Andreas Schulz, Licht Kunst Licht AG