Outstanding glass craftsmanship in historic architecture, perfectly displayed with customised ERCO lighting and a Casambi lighting control solution: the Holmegaard Værk glass museum in Denmark.
Denmark’s most important and only surviving glassworks recently reopened as a centre for glass art within the historic architecture of the former Holmegaard factory, located south of Copenhagen. The lighting concept for the new cultural centre with exhibition areas and glass workshop aims, on the one hand, to bring the history of this important industrial site and its buildings to life. On the other, it enables the exhibits to be vividly displayed – by optimally emphasising their colours, shapes and materials in the ‘abandoned’ glassworks. A wide variety of mostly customised LED spotlights from ERCO respond, thanks to Casambi’s lighting control solution, to the special requirements for exhibition lighting within the complex system of highly differing spatial and daylight situations: in addition to low rooms completely without daylight, there are also hall-like rooms up to ten metres high with skylights and daylight entering from the side. Coloured light is also used to breathe life into the architecture and glass art.
The municipality wanted to provide a great working environment for the staff and their visitors. With the use of daylight harvesting and sensors the different rooms adapt to the lighting of the circadian rhythm, which help improve the working environment as well as the employees’ health and wellbeing.
Holmegaard is a piece of living industrial culture: up to 1,200 were employed until the official closure of Denmark’s most important glassworks in 2008. Soon the region expressed a desire to preserve the buildings and re-function them as a museum. Funds have been raised for this ambitious project for years. As a result, the new Holmegaard Værk cultural centre opened its doors with exhibition spaces, a glass workshop, offices, a restaurant and a shop.
“ERCO fixtures were already in use at ‘Museum Sydøstdanmark’s’ other locations. Today, a total of around 1,600 luminaires are installed in our exhibitions, half of which are at Holmegaard Værk. The factors of quality, durability and reliability of the maintenance-friendly ERCO LED luminaires were crucial in the decision to use them in all our locations – and all the way from exhibition areas and the offices to the workshop. The high flexibility that characterizes the system of spotlights and floodlights for track, together with the visual comfort, even in high rooms and different daylight situations, are also important for our selection. The choice of ERCO was therefore natural when we had to get started with Holmegaard Værk,” explains Carl-Henrik Hansen, the museum’s technical manager.
Coloured light breathes life into the industrial architecture and glass artworks
A black box was integrated into the former glassworks as a room-within-a-room structure completely without the incidence of daylight, in which changing exhibitions of fragile works of art made of glass or ceramics can be seen. To be able to align the lighting as flexibly as possible to the respective exhibits, a dense track system with spacing of only one metre was installed beneath the newly installed ceiling. The custom ERCO Parscan spotlight variant with short mounting bracket was used here.
Stella spotlights modified with RBGW LED are a further essential special solution: the lighting designer responsible for the lighting concept of the new cultural centre, Iben Winther Orton from Lightscapes ApS, wanted a high-output RGBW luminaire also controllable via Casambi. The Stella spotlights developed as part of the ERCO individual service can be adapted across the entire colour spectrum to the specific materials and colour scheme of the exhibits.
“In the Holmegaard Værk lighting design, the colour composition depends on the individual exhibitions, whereby contrasting or complementary colours are used to highlight the colour of the works themselves,” explains Iben Winther Orton. “To breathe a sense life into glass and ceramics it has to be remembered that the amount of light these materials can absorb is individual. If the lighting reaches this point, the object appears brilliant and attractive, if it is below it the material stays lifeless, and if the lighting exceeds this point the material is perceived as flat.” Not only the exhibits themselves, but also the surroundings – such as floor areas and steps – were designed by the lighting designer with partly subtle, partly dramatic contrasts via the use of coloured light.
Highly diverse spatial situations with varying amounts of daylight
Some areas in the exhibition are bathed in cool ‘glass green’, others in warm amber. This is also the case in the room with a gigantic shelf, some seven metres in height, housing more than 40,000 glass objects. Parscan spotlights and Stella spotlights converted to RBGW provide powerful, efficient and precise accent lighting. Adjustment to changing daylight situations is via Casambi. “The powerful, heterogeneous lighting concept with strong, partly coloured light accents underlines the diverse spatial and daylight situations, but also the different functions of the areas in the former glassworks,” states lighting designer Iben Winther Orton. “The most homogeneous, uniform illumination possible with use of wallwashers, as aimed for by many museums today, would not have done justice to the complexity of Holmegaard Værk.”
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Holmegaard Værk Cultural Centre, Glass Museum & Glass Production
© ERCO GmbH, www.erco.com
Iben Winther Orton, Lightscapes ApS, Fredensborg, and Carl-Henrik Hansen, Museum Sydøstdanmark,
Lightscapes ApS with Iben Winther Orton won the 2020 LIT Design Awards (category Visitor Experience and Museum Exhibition) for Holmegaard Værk.
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