Groninger Museum

Location: Groningen, Netherlands
Designer/Architect: Maarten Baas, Studio Job and Jamie Hayonr
Lighting Designer: Ralph van den Berg, Deerns

Originally built over a century ago, the Groninger Museum in Groningen, Netherlands, has always been known for pushing the boundaries of design. Sixteen years after the museum’s total reconstruction in 1994, with stunning structures by Philippe Starck, Alessandro Mendini and Coop Himmelb(l)au, the Groninger’s management team felt that the museum’s interior, which hosts some of the country’s finest exhibitions of modern art, was in need of refreshing.


This time, the museum enlisted the help of top designers Maarten Baas, Studio Job and Jaime Hayon to redevelop various spaces; these included redesigns of the Mendini Restaurant, the Job Lounge and the hyper-modern Info Center computer suite. The refurbishment also gave the museum the opportunity to ask questions about the energy efficiency of the Groninger and to make the most of the latest in energy efficient lighting technology. Now, thanks to companies such as MEGAMAN®, the Groninger is set to shine – highly efficiently - for many more years to come.


Lighting specialist Ralph van den Berg, from the engineering firm Deerns, was enlisted to update the lighting scheme within the museum’s main access and exhibition areas, whilst new schemes were created by Maarten Baas in the Mendini Restaurant, Studio Job in the Job Lounge and Jaime Hayon in the Info Center. In the main access areas and exhibition halls, the brief was to keep the existing lighting scheme design, but to have it replaced with the most energy efficient light sources possible. The museum was very specific about the type of light quality it wanted. Mr van den Berg explains further: “The museum had previously been lit largely with halogen lighting. Since then, lighting technology has, of course, developed enormously. Not only did the Groninger Museum want to make the most of this new technology and have the most energy efficient and long lasting light sources possible, but they also wanted the same high quality light rendition as the existing halogens. Our challenge was to find a suitable mix of lamp technologies with which to refresh the lighting scheme for a contemporary interpretation, which the museum could continue to use for decades to come."


The obvious choice in terms of energy efficiency and long lamp life soon became obvious: LED lamp technology. However, very quickly concerns were raised by the museum over the quality of colour rendering and life-time colour consistency of LED’s. Mr van den Berg continues: “Following extensive research, we began to realise the extent of the task of finding a suitable LED replacement lamp technology for this application. The combined light source and fitting needed to have a maximum cross-section of 10 centimetres, deliver the luminosity of a 50 Watt halogen lamp and be dimmable. In addition, the museum wanted the lamp and fitting to be separate entities for ease of lamp replacement and the spotlights to be easily tilted and 100 percent rotating.”


Eventually the team from Deerns set up a test of 20 MEGAMAN®’s PAR16 8W LED spot lights to gauge their dimming potential, luminosity and installation depth. Following the success of this test, 550 MEGAMAN® PAR16 8W GU10 2800K LED dimmable lamps were installed throughout the Groninger Museum’s oval-shaped access rooms between the exhibition spaces, the entrance area and the new Mendini Restaurant. In addition, Deerns team used a range of T5 fluorescent wall wash lighting solutions in the exhibition spaces and the Starck Pavillion was fitted with a circular power rail, to ensure flexible spotlighting as required. To create a strong focal point within Jaime Hayon’s designed Job Lounge, a Venini Murano pendant artwork and wall lamps were created and MEGAMAN®’s DIMMERABLE Series of Liliput CFL lamps used within them.


With a colour rendering index of Ra80, negligible UV and guaranteed 90% lumen and colour retention over the lamps 25,000 hours of life, MEGAMAN®’s PAR16 8W LED dimmable lamps were the ideal solution within the Groninger Museum’s access and restaurant areas. In addition, the significantly reduced wattage of MEGAMAN®’s halogen replacement lamps and long lamp life will mean considerable energy and cost-efficiencies for the Museum.


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