newsletter link
mondo arc

Selexyz, Maastricht, Netherlands

Issue 43 Jun / Jul 2008 : Retail : Store

Lighting Design: ANSORG

Ansorg light a bookshop with a difference in Maastricht.

It is not for book fans alone that the bookshop Selexyz in the Dutch city of Maastricht has opened. Insiders are already talking about the most beautiful bookshop in the world. As a new use to which a former Dominican church is being put, the bookshop also opens up a view of an extraordinary interpretation of architecture. Since the architects preserved the original character of the formerly ecclesiastical room with great sensitivity and nevertheless integrated a bookshop with a useful area of 1250sqm on a floor area of 750sqm. The ambiance is essentially characterised by the lighting concept developed by Ansorg. From a lighting design point of view, the concept falls back on luminaires from the standard range and focuses on the perfect illumination of the historical location and the needs of a modern sales room.
It was the architects’ declared aim to retain the character of the church with its classic division into nave and aisles. Also the height of the domed ceiling with its impressive frescoes was meant to be something that could always be experienced in the new bookshop. For this reason, the architects discarded the building owners’ original idea of integrating a second sales floor into the body of the building with the help of an additional ceiling. They proposed a concept of a walk-in built-in book cupboard with two levels which they placed asymmetrically on the floor space available. The room characteristics on the left-hand side of the nave and of the aisle adjoining on the left could thus be left completely unchanged. The same goes for the free view of the church ceiling high above, at the top of the church interior. Gazing at the ceiling automatically leads the observer to perceive the walk-in book cupboard which, as regards its function, is self-explanatory. As the second level of the walk-in book cupboard is surrounded by a covered walk, again and again new room impressions are opened up to the onlooker from this exposed place, too.
It was Ansorg’s task in this special ambiance, to develop the lighting starting from the central reference point, the two-level walk-in book cupboard. That means that both the illumination of the books on the shelves of the two floors and the lighting for the free area on the left-hand side and the illumination of the fresco-adorned domed roof had to be mainly integrated into the ‘body of the book cupboard’.
For the illumination of the walls lined with bookshelves, special luminaires are used, the fluorescent lamps of which, with wall washer reflectors, evenly illuminate the shelf areas over their entire height. Additional accentuation is achieved by the use of Brick track-mounted spotlights. Recessed Cardo spotlights with spot reflectors were installed in the ceiling of the walk-in book cupboard that, invisibly for the visitors, illuminate the ceiling frescoes.
In addition, suspended Cardo CPK with four spotlights are used with the functions of accent and ceiling lighting. In order to be able to perform both functions, the basic module was modified in such a way that three luminaires beam their light downwards and one luminaire directs its beam in the direction of the ceiling.
Further Brick spotlights are used for accent lighting in the bookshop café which is housed in the choir of the former church and within the overall ensemble occupies a special position. The spotlights are fixed to a circular framework structure that hovers over the room like a multi-flame candelabra.
In total, the lighting design for the bookshop focuses on the detailed and exactly fitting effect of the light. The luminaires themselves serve only as go-betweens and are subordinated almost invisibly, with the exception of the luminaire over the choir, to the basic design concept. The chosen minimalist approach – from the architectural and lighting-design points of view – leads to deliberate emphasising of the original room characteristics. And in that way, the visitor’s gaze, supported by the lighting effect of the Cardo spotlights used, is always first directed upwards, to the fresco-adorned ceiling above the bookshop.



Ansorg Brick spotlights are fixed to a circular framework that hovers over the room like a candelabra

  • Selexyz
  • Selexyz
  • Selexyz
  • Selexyz
  • Selexyz

    The Ansorg luminaires serve only as go-betweens and are almost invisible deliberately emphasising the architecture of the church

Related Articles


Follow us on…

Follow Mondo Arc Magazine on Twitter Follow Mondo Arc Magazine on Facebook Follow Mondo Arc Magazine on Linked In

mondo arc india

darc awards DWLF IALD PLDC LRO