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Jeongok Natural History Museum, Gyeonggi-Do, Korea

Issue 62 Aug / Sep 2011 : Retail : Museum

Lighting Design: 8’18” | Architect: X-TU

Beneath the silver snakeskin of the Jeongok Prehistory Museum, 8’18” has provided the basis for a flexible lighting solution that helps bring the past to life.

The Jeongok Prehistory Museum sits among the curving landscape that was once home to Korea’s first inhabitants, ‘Jeongok man’. It’s easy to imagine the view has remained unchanged since those prehistoric days, and indeed the Museum itself encourages this conceit, with paths leading off to a series of recreated forests and river ecosystems - complete with replica huts of the region’s early settlements.

Architect X-TU wanted their design to work around the contours of the landscape, while at the same time providing a striking built identity for the new museum. Their successful proposal was for a shining silver skinned shape that meanders around the park’s two hills, lifting off the ground in places to form a bridge between their summits. The impression is one of a metallic snake – or perhaps a traditional Korean dragon - winding across the hillside.

The tubular appearance of the exterior skin actually conceals a much larger interior space. Sections of the hillsides have been carved out to create basement storage and service spaces and the loops of the outer wall create a series of spacious internal exhibition rooms.

The white interior and silver exterior are thematically linked by a repeating pattern of circular holes and perforations that help reinforce the suggestion of a snakeskin texture. More than simple futuristic frippery, the patterns in both instances were introduced as a way of delivering the most impressive and flexible illumination effects. The solution is the result of a collaboration between X-TU and lighting designers 8’18”. The two had previously collaborated on a number of projects in their native France (Museum of Wine in Bordeaux and Forum des Images in Paris to name just two) and 8’18”s involvement so early in the process helped ensure aesthetic and lighting needs could be intrinsically interwoven.

For the interior their solution was to create a pre-wired grid of circular recessed connection points that could accommodate either a speaker or light fixture, or simply be covered over and left as a dummy point – available should a change of exhibits require them. The connection points were fitted with either a recessed projector (with diffusion glass allowing 60% of light transmission) for ambient light or with a 55W halogen projector on -/+12º adjustable gimbal to precisely target specific areas.

Visitors enter the museum at basement level and climb the stairs to the central foyer and reception space. To the right sits a cafeteria above which a series of stalactite-like Perspex rods hang, illuminated from above by DALI dimmable, RGB LED spots.

From the main foyer, visitors can also choose to explore the exhibition spaces housed within the other two loops of the building. The recessed ceiling dot lighting provides much of the illumination in these areas. Exhibits are displayed in an archipelago of oval pods, some forming enclosed display cabinets or flat-topped display tables and others creating raised dais for detailed dioramas. In many instances these dais areas are echoed in the ceiling by frosted, oval ‘skylights’ backlit by dimmable fluorescents to provide a variable daylight effect.

The same fluorescents form the cove lighting in display walls at the edge of the room and in the cave-like side-room, whose mud floor recreates the feel of an archaeological dig.

Contrary to their usual process, 8’18” were employed by the client only for the design stages and were not brought on site to oversee installation. Though obviously not an ideal scenario, the team responded by producing highly detailed specification and installation sheets, to help the on-site contractors remain as true to their intended scheme as possible.

This was particularly true of the exterior skin, which offers some interesting effects of its own. X-TU’s intention was for the building to seem both embedded within the landscape and in striking juxtaposition to it: “An immaterial-abstract-shaped time vessel”. To continue this interaction after nightfall, 8’18’ designed a grid of LED nodes to be fitted to the inside the stainless-steel facade. These nodes are programmed to bounce light of a special refelctive skin surface and back out through the micro-perforated shell. The gentle variations in light give the impression of shimmering movement, seemingly bringing the museum structure to life.


Jeongok Natural History Museum, Jeongok, Korea
Client: Gyeonggi Governement
Architects: X-TU (Nicolas Demazière & Anouk Legendre)
Lighting Design: 8’18” (Remy Cimadevilla, Julien Caquineau, Georges Berne)


INTERIOR: Philips Pentura Fluorsecent strip 60W - integrated with cove and special features • Philips fluorescent strip 43W (dimmable) - exhibits/luminous tables • Philips fluorescent strip 28W integrated with lighting cove • Philips fluorescent strip 28W (dimmable) integrated in oval cabinets • ERCO three phase track - integrated into false ceiling in temp exhibition hall • Modular Haloscan AR111 - integrated in ceiling dots • Modular Special - recessed boxes for fixtures in ceiling • DGA recessed LED spotlight - perspex rods • Zumtobel Solar II MQ R111 -basement temporary exhibition hall • Sylumis Saturne fibre optic generator + fibre optics - exhibition tables • OSRAM Lumilux T5 FC  - recessed diffusing ring in ceiling holes - some with dimmable ballast • DGA recessed LED spots - roof and basement level
EXTERIOR SKIN: Zumtobel LN-DALIS interface • Targetti Pro LED 1E1360  • We-ef directional projector


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