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Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Norway

Issue 76 December / January 2014 : Architectural: Museum


The new Renzo Piano designed home of the Astrup Fearnley Museum straddles the sides of one of Oslo’s many canals. ÅF Lighting ensured that the museum’s exterior and interior lighting scheme lived up to the stunning art collection within.

The Aker Brygge area of Oslo and the one-time shipyards of Tjuvholmen sit at the heart of the city’s recent spurt of urban regeneration and reinvention. The area, now a sparkling business and arts district is home to the new Astrup Fearnley Museum and its impressive collection of modern artwork, one of the best collections in Norway.

The innovative structure that hosts the gallery sits on the water’s edge, with views out over the Oslo fjord and back to the city centre. The timber clad buildings bear all the hallmarks of the traditional Norwegian style, but shelter under an ultra-modern glass roof that speaks only of Norway’s exciting future.

Renzo Piano’s RPBW was commissioned to design the structure, which also boasts a separate space for the museum’s temporary exhibitions, as well as an office building.

A canal cuts through the middle of the site with the main museum sitting on the north side of the water and to the south, over a footbridge, is the museum’s space for temporary exhibitions.

The gallery space is spread over differing floors shaped by the curve of the sloping roof. During the day the art is lit by daylight entering the building through the spectacular skylight in the roof and after dark the art is illuminated via a lighting design supplied by ÅF Lighting.

The European based company was consulted about which light sources would be most efficient for the project and an LED based solution was suggested.

The most prominent element of the project, the huge glass roof that soars over the complex, linking the buildings together and giving the development a presence on the waterfront, is formed from laminated wood beams. The beams are supported by slender steel columns, reinforced with cable rigging, which refer to the maritime character of the site.

The fifteen metre high roof was particularly difficult to light in terms of expense, while being an entirely unadvisable location to simply chance light sources. An LED streak fixed to the glass and the glow from the interior light creates a stunning evening lighting scheme. When the interior light is turned off inside the museum the roof becomes dark, and 7 ETC gobo projectors light up, placed on a 12 meter high pole to light up the roof surface perfectly with no spill light around the facades.

An LED-installation on the roof was particularly useful given the long lifetime offered, meaning the museum would not have to incur the cost of regular roof-top lamp replacements. 130 metres of narrow beam, (6°), cool white LED-flex from Calco Fibre-optics was used on the roof space. Several projectors from ETC were also installed in the roof space in order to create an impressive night-time effect.

The exterior architecture is complimented by an impressive 72-metre steel and glass tower. Originally called the ‘Icon Tower’, the name of the structure was changed to ‘Sneak Peak Tjuvholmen’ in recognition of its impressive viewing platform. The structure was lit using 127 Arc Source 3, 6°RGB, from Anolis as well as three Arc Source 36, 6°, Cool White fixtures also from Anolis. The fixtures on the tower are controlled using a DMX with a Pharos control system.

LED lighting was also used inside the gallery itself, despite some initial concerns. In spite of the initial doubts it was found that LED actually gives the best colour rendition, in comparison with lighting alternatives and therefore generates the best reflection of the artwork on display. Zumtobel fixtures were used in the gallery interior, complimenting the stylish insides of this most modern of modern art museums.


ÅF Lighting was also commissioned to develop a lighting concept for the new Opera Quarter in Oslo, creating a coherent, diverse, visual expression of the space during day and night.........


The exterior lighting for the Opera Quarter in Oslo is based on the conceptual theme ‘multiverse’, developed by ÅF Lighting, with each urban stripe representing an individual visual universe.

The pedestrian passage on the site functions as a wormhole, binding the quarter together, guiding visitors from one ‘universe’ to the next. The designer’s intention was to underline the special qualities of each urban stripe, while creating a distinct identity for the area, in balance with the surrounding architectural landscape.

The bike stripe is located in the centre of the Opera Quarter, the area acting to provide bike parking and bike lanes, as well as creating a distinct urban space. The lighting for the bike stripe, by ÅF Lighting, is composed of spotlighting and integrated bike lights that stage the bike racks.

The spotlighting is achieved by MaxiWoody projectors from iGuzzini that are mounted on nine metre round-conical poles, irregularly spread along the stripe. The projectors are equipped with anti-glare rings and have been aimed with high accuracy to avoid glare and any spill light onto the facades.

ÅF Lighting developed a custom-made solution to integrate small luminaires with white and red LEDs from WIBRE into the hollow frame of the bike racks in order to recreate the visual image of front and rear bike lights. The orientation of the bike racks evoke the feeling that the bikes are either moving towards or away from the observer.

The passage crossing the bike stripe is illuminated with custom-made fixtures mounted on five metre poles. The fixtures, developed by ÅF Lighting, emphasize the transversal pedestrian passage ensuring a coherent visual expression throughout the Opera Quarter. Specially designed reflectors provide an even functional lighting while the colour of the luminous housing can be adapted to the surrounding materials and character.





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