Licht Kunst Licht AG
Museums & Exhibitions

New Museum Citadel Spandau

Berlin, Germany
Staab Architekten GmbH, Berlin
Exhibition designers
Staab Architekten GmbH, Berlin
District administration of Spandau
Berlin Department of Education
Culture and Sport
Citadel of Spandau, Berlin
Project size
5,500 sqm
Jens Achtermann
Joanna Kosowska
Overall building budget
14.1 million euros
Lighting budget
approx. 0.39 million euros

Unveiled and Displayed – Refined Lighting for Berlin’s Forgotten Monuments in the Former Supplies Depot of the Spandau Citadel

The permanent exhibition “Unveiled – Berlin and its Monuments” has been shown in the former Provisions Depot building of Spandau Citadel since 2016. For the first time in a long time, political monuments that once characterized the Berlin cityscape, are shown to the public again. In order to clearly show that the monuments are exhibited in the context of a museum and are no longer in the public outdoors, the peripheral walls play a significant role for the lighting concept. These walls are uniformly illuminated with wallwashers located in the ceiling, generating subtle nuances of light and shadow. The light from the wallwashers also casts light onto the sculptures which are arranged along the walls. Only a few particularly important exhibits are illuminated with additional accent lights.

In the media room of the “Siegesallee,” an impressive monument can be found. It was erected by its Brandenburg-Prussian rulers in Berlin’s Tiergarten between 1898 and 1901, and is presented today surrounded by a 360° luminous wall of printed green trees and shrubs. Visitors can experience the events of a typical day from that time through an 18-minute long sound collage and dynamic lighting loop. The backlighting of the peripheral image is produced by a series of linear LED profiles grazing the interior of the double-layered fabric wall with two different degrees of translucency.

The light comes from above, just as in nature and changes its color temperature and brightness according to the time in the loop. To obtain a realistic impression of the group of figures, a ceiling slot containing 13 concealed spotlights was designed in the shape of a parabola.

The carefully arranged and aimed spotlights are programmed to imitate the natural dynamics of the sun. For this, the “sun” originates in the east, with spotlights fading into one another, at noon it is in the zenith above the monument and disappears in the evening again on the opposite side of the ceiling parabola. Congruent with the audio play, moonlight is also simulated by means of the spotlights, or an afternoon thunderstorm is accompanied by flashing lights. Of course, these lighting fixtures are able to simulate various circadian light colors and brightness levels. Additionally, a slight movement of the light can be perceived now and again, evoking the effect of sunlight shining through leaves. This effect is created by the integration of four programmed fans in the ceiling slot, setting the suspended perforated fabric in motion.

“This heritage protected buildings were refurbished by Staab Architekten with a great amount of loving care and attention to details. The exhibition included those huge political monuments that once characterized the old Berlin City landscape, combined with a super modern media room, where a dynamic lighting loop interacts with ventilators and a sound collage. So much fun! Our main goal was to underline the architecture und exhibition with mostly integrated or hidden lighting fixtures.”

– Maik Czarniak, Licht Kunst Licht AG