Goldkammer Museum

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Frankfurt, Germany

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Lighting design

Licht Kunst Licht AG


AS+P Albert Speer + Partner GmbH, Frankfurt


Goldkammer Frankfurt GmbH


Frankfurt, Germany


Marcus Ebener


Spectacular Underground Museum Architecture

After four years of design, planning, and construction, one of Europe’s most modern museums opened its doors on May 25th, 2019: the Goldkammer Frankfurt. In the middle of Frankfurt’s densely built Westend, the biggest architectural challenge was to showcase the fascinating world of gold in an extremely limited space. On a total of just 480 square meters, the Berlin based exhibition designers from merz merz created an expressive setting for more than 500 gold artefacts from the most varied eras of the past 6,000 years with a spectacular sequence of underground tunnels and treasure chambers. With an unobtrusive but emphatic display of the exhibits via integrated lighting elements, Licht Kunst Licht emphasizes the composition of this innovative exhibition concept.

The entrance foyer welcomes visitors with a friendly and warm lighting atmosphere created by ceiling recesses filled with ceiling pendant lights, which were specially designed for the museum. With their narrow-beam light distribution, they produce a directional and brilliant light, which leads to the desired reflections and light patterns on the polished surfaces. Additionally, indirect cove lights trace the ceiling recesses and introduce a secondary, soft lighting component. All LEDs use a 3,000 K white color temperature to emphasize both the predominantly deep blue wall colors as well as the warm-toned brass accents. A sophisticated distribution of light makes the exhibition spaces seem more spacious than they actually are. Concealed linear light profiles imitate incident daylight, while discreetly placed lighting accents create a mysterious and suspenseful atmosphere.

The main area of the museum is devoted to the topics of Gold as Currency, Early Cultures, and Jewelry. The rooms are clad with rammed earth and their upward tapering room geometries and inclined loam plaster ceilings are reminiscent of the ancient Egyptian and Mayan pyramids. Ceiling setbacks incorporated into the room design house well-concealed linear light strips, which create the appearance of cool daylight pouring in.

Two of the highlights of the exhibition – the only surviving gold bust of Licinius I and a precious gold mask from Colombia – are shown in two opposing chambers, linked by the exhibition space "Ancient Cultures". In the back walls of each of these chambers is a vertical, tapered recess, which is designed as a display case, each housing one exhibit. Linear luminaires are concealed on both sides of the recess, creating the impression of a glowing band of light that visually connects the room ensemble by continuing in the form of a ceiling recess. The light band provides the required general lighting and at the same time forms the back wall lighting of the two wall mounted display cases.

The ceiling and showcase lighting was realised with LED luminaires from the XOOLINE™ IP40 family, among others.

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