Eternal radiance

Bergmeister Leuchten have teamed up with Licht Kunst Licht to light up the Goldkammer in Frankfurt am Main with a special purpose-made luminaire. And the effort certainly paid off: The museum won the German lighting design award Deutscher Lichtdesign-Preis 2020.

Gold: It was a meteor shower that brought the precious metal to earth a long time ago. Mankind has been fascinated with the material since it was first discovered. The architecture firm AS+P Albert Speer + Partner from Frankfurt and the exhibition designers at merz merz Architekten from Berlin have together created a museum to the special ore, choosing a very much apt location for it in the center of the financial metropolis that is Frankfurt/Main. Licht Kunst Licht has come up with a comprehensive lighting system for the impressive conversion and the unique exhibits. In the atrium visitors are greeted by a luminaire developed especially for the museum by Licht Kunst Licht in collaboration with Bergmeister Leuchten. Recessed in the three coffered ceiling sections, which are also indirectly illuminated by cove lighting, altogether 90 of the pendant luminaires designed for the museum illuminate the room, creating an opulent entrée. The simple design of the pendant light is based on a miner’s lamp that provided the miners with orientation as they worked underground. While these were powered for example with petroleum or gas and were equipped with an incandescent gas mantle, the cylinder of the special luminaire by Bergmeister Leuchten has been fitted with a brass mesh that reflects the light of the LEDs. Made of hand-cut tombac – a specialty of the Bergmeister Leuchten manufactory – it is visually similar to gold. “With its narrow beam angle, the special luminaire offers a very directional light that brings out the qualities of the exquisite materials and does a lot to set the scene in the space”, as project director Konstantin Klaas of Licht Kunst Licht explains. The jury of the German lighting design award Deutscher Lichtdesign-Preis 2020 agreed, and recently honored the project.

True splendor

The architecture of the Goldkammer is rather special, too: Located in Frankfurt’s Westend district close to the Alte Oper opera house, the late Classicist villa is dwarfed by the surrounding high-rises. Much like a treasure chest, the listed building hides its true beauty deep inside. Yet it is sure to pique the interest of passers-by, as the light of the elegant luminaires fills the entrance area and gives the generous amount of marble used here an impressive luster. Walls and ceilings have been painted in teal and offer an exquisite contrast to the light coffering that houses the special luminaires. The luster of the lamp bodies, the pleasant warm white light color of the 3,000 K bulbs, and the harmonious interplay of materials and color schemes create an alluring atmosphere that invites you to sojourn in the in-house Aureus Café, the bar and the museum restaurant. The exhibits are housed on the basement level, which can be reached via an elevator: merz merz Architekten selected natural stone, marble, bronze and rammed earth to create an exhibition backdrop with a mystical air that gives visitors the impression of being immersed in the underground world of gold mines. The exciting spectrum of exhibits spans the history of the first goldsmiths and hand-made golden objects belonging to the primeval peoples to select gold bars of the Rothschild collection – and all of this can be discovered by following a vein of gold that has been embedded in the floor. In contrast to the very precise pendant lamp in the atrium, the lamps here take an understated backseat, allowing the gold to shine and take center stage. Stepping outside after seeing the exhibition, visitors are presented once more with a show of skill by Bergmeister Leuchten, this time in outdoor lighting: The combination of the light steles “Canna” and the wall lights “Abadia”, also a design by Licht Kunst Licht, ideally illuminate Goldkammer’s façade and the museum grounds. (am)