Figure of light
In order to reach the Apoxyomenos we need to cross the sea – the floor and the walls are such a radiant cobalt blue and the low ceiling such a gleaming white that we get the feeling of looking up to the surface of the water from way down in the depths of the sea. The rough pattern on the bright shape that towers up into and dominates the room calls to mind the image of a ship’s hull. Although it looks as if we are at the bottom of the sea, we are free to breathe normally and without the need for an oxygen cylinder – because this deep blue entrance is part of Muzej Apoksiomena in Lošinj, Croatia. The unusual, slightly subdued atmosphere is greatly heightened by the “Supersystem II” multifunctional LED tools mounted on low-voltage tracks and by the LED strips integrated into the flooring, all by Zumtobel. Architects Idis Turato and Sasa Randic designed this special building located in the old Kvarner Palace as an homage to the young athlete from Antiquity who is depicted in the statue. The young man accepts his new prominence mutely, eternally scraping the dust from his oiled arms after exercising. For a long time the Apoxyomenos, a good 1.90 meters in height, with his toned physique, lay at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, hidden by sand and covered in marine plants. Had it not been for amateur diver Rene Wouters that is, who chanced upon him.
Anybody wanting to rise from the depths of the ocean in the museum lobby back up to the surface is bound to make the acquaintance of the young athlete from the sea – progressing from room to room on the way to the Apoxyomenos visitors will find out more details of his story and the complicated restoration of his more than 2,000-year-old bronze body. The settings that visitors need to traverse en route are as remarkable as the statue itself, their dramatic quality reminiscent of the work of stage designer and director Ersan Mondtag, be it a room lined with black industrial rubber or an amphitheater by Dutch studio Kulenturato that has been fitted out with an immense Merino wool carpet. Meanwhile, the LED RGB recessed floor lighting “Paso II” with its soft color transitions underscores the impression that we are miles and miles below the surface of the water. A few more steps and we find ourselves face to face with small finds from inside the sculpture, lined up carefully in display cases set into an olive-wood wall. “Microtools,” Zumtobel’s system of miniature LED lights, serves to highlight individual elements amidst the lively grain pattern.
At the end of this voyage of discovery marked by a great many sensory impressions, the lighting line “Linaria” guides us along a black stairway. At the end, we step through a door into the heart of the museum. And suddenly there it stands, the immaculate Croatian Apoxyomenos – in the middle of a seamless white cube created by Vanja Ilić. An upholstered, peaceful room, perfectly staged, with invisible light sources. The panel lights from the LED lighting system “Cielos” have been installed with LEDs between them so that no joins are visible on the textile surfaces. Thus diagonally in relation to the direction of the glass floor panels, the light surfaces create a kind of luminous base, panel by panel. This atmospheric lighting allows the room to fade into the background and nothing interferes with the impressive effect of the ancient statue, not even a shadow. All the Zumtobel lighting sources in the museum are controlled by the “Litecom” management system. And when, at the end of their journey, visitors find themselves back in front of the museum, the “Ikono” LED wall light’s RGB sidelights send out a colorful greeting onto the façade of Muzej Apoksiomena in Lošinj. (am)