The Art of Showing Art in the Right Light

The Art of Showing Art in the Right Light

The Sefar light ceiling at the Museum Folkwang combines aesthetics and functionality. The Museum Folkwang in the city of Essen is one of the most significant art institutions in Germany.

As well as housing collections of 19th century paintings and sculptures, classical modern art, post-1945, and photographic exhibits, the new building by David Chipperfield is also an architectonic highlight in itself: a 1,400m2 light ceiling, which, without supporting columns interrupting the view, allows the works on display to be seen in just the right (natural or artificial) light.

Natural light is omnipresent in the new museum building designed by David Chipperfield. The courtyard surroundings are filled with as much of it as possible and the exhibition rooms were so designed as to make full use of the natural light spectrum when presenting the art. Accordingly, the works enter into a special dialogue with ever changing light situation over the course of the day.

The interior lighting ambience inside the museum is controlled by means of side windows and light ceilings. For architectural reasons, it was decided to use a Lightframe concept – an optimal combination of SEFAR Architecture IA-95-CL Fabric and intelligent ceiling modules, resulting in convincing added value.

Large dimensions – intelligent solutions

The Lightframe concept is based on a modular system. So as not to change the characteristics of the room, both the light metal frames with their tensioning devices and the edges of the fabric are invisible. Supports, lighting units, and cables are housed in a special track. When connecting multiple elements as is the case in the Museum Folkwang, locking screws ensure the necessary tensioning to cope with the large surface area. A total of 514 "floating" Lightframe modules were used to cover the 1400 m2 light ceiling of the column-free hall for temporary exhibitions.

Lightframes as basic elements
At the same time, the Lightframe light ceiling meets all the exhibition-specific requirements. The modular arrangement of the ceiling grid makes it possible to include running rails for suspending wall-separating elements. In this way, the light ceiling also serves as a divider for the changeable room structure.

What’s more, in addition to its light technical properties with transmission rates over 95%, SEFAR Architecture IA-95-CL Fabric is also known for its noise absorption qualities – a basic requirement when planning reduced exhibition space without its own "breaks" to dampen reverberation.

Above all, the nature of the textile imparts an unseen yet noticeably pleasant atmosphere to the room within the clear design form of the entire building.

Well presented

In collaboration with Sefar manufacturing partner Firma Schmid GmbH in Weiler-Simmerberg, Germany, art is successfully kept as the center of attention. Although the dimensions and the clear structure of the light ceiling actually play an important role in the overall museum visit experience, the architectonic refinements are kept discreetly in the background. The Lightframe concept and SEFAR Architecture IA-95-CL Fabric see themselves as a means to an end – and in these selected frames are visually well presented.

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