Licht Kunst Licht AG
Museums & Exhibitions / Daylight

LWL – Museum für Kunst und Kultur

Münster, Germany
Staab Architekten GmbH, Berlin
Exhibition designer
Space4 GmbH, Stuttgart
Szcenographic exhibition lighting
LDE Belzner Holmes, Stuttgart
Regional Association Westphalia-Lippe
LWL Museum of Art and Culture
Project size
18,000 sqm
Marcus Ebener
Overall building budget
38.7 million euros
Lighting budget
1.8 million euros

Space and Light Disclose New Perspectives – The LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster

After a perennial construction period the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster has been re-opened in September. Extended by Staab Architekten through a new construction which is connected with the existing building from 1908, the museum can now display its collection in 51 exhibition spaces. They are flanked by a library, an auditorium, access and relaxation zones as well as a restaurant. The carefully structured lighting concept of Licht Kunst Licht not only offers a flexible exhibition illumination, but also orchestrates the architecture.

It was the lighting designers’ aim to develop a lighting concept that not only measures up to the museum as a multifunctional building but also fulfills the elevated requirements of a display illumination in a contemporary museum’s operation. The design focus was not on the luminaire as an object but on the self-evident integration of artificial light into a clear-cut architecture, thus making light palpable, but keeping the light source itself concealed.

Apart from the approach to the new museum’s architectural structure, Licht Kunst Licht has tackled the task of guiding the visitor through the building’s interiority by light, thus accompanying him like a leitmotif on his way through the museum from the first step into the foyer to the exhibition spaces at the 3rd floor. Simultaneously, it was of pivotal importance that various requirements of exhibition illumination are covered by a connecting lighting element throughout all areas. This was to provide the possibility of a flexible lighting solution for the permanent and temporary exhibitions.

At the exhibition spaces, a so far unique lighting solution has been specifically developed for this museum. A ceiling integrated artificial lighting frame, following the walls’ outlines creates a calm ceiling impression and provides flexible light for the unrestricted display of exhibits. Following the groove between the lighting frame and the central ceiling area is a 3-phase-track. It allows for the flexible adaptation of projectors. In their narrow beam version they accentuate selected works of art or illuminate larger areas and objects in their wide beam edition.

Also the approach to daylight and the visitor’s visual link with the exterior was a particular challenge in the exhibition spaces with skylights and the foyer. At the uppermost floor, the museum houses five skylight spaces. Large, centered daylight ceilings allow the dynamics of natural light into the interior space. In order to avoid the detrimental effects of direct sunlight, a laminated glass sandwich has been fitted with a micro-prismatic layer. It only admits diffuse sky light. The amount of light can be reduced through a roller blind. Yet another layer allows for a complete black-out. A translucent membrane ceiling facing the interior acts as an additional filter. In order to achieve an artificial light atmosphere at the skylight spaces that is identical to the one in the remaining exhibition areas, a combination of the aforementioned light frame and track mounted projectors is implemented.

“We set ourselves the major task of providing the visitor with a light guidance through the interior of the building, which accompanies him on his way through the museum – from the first step into the foyer to the exhibition rooms on the 2nd floor – like a red thread. The focus was not on the luminaire as an object, but rather on the natural integration of artificial light into the clear architectural language, so that light becomes perceptible but the light source itself remains hidden.”

– Andreas Schulz, Licht Kunst Licht AG