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Nationalmuseum Stockholm: Combination of natural and artificial light provides a unique museum experience

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Nationalmuseum Stockholm 7

CLIENT: National Property Board Sweden


ARCHITECT: Wingårdhs,

USER: Stockholm

CONSULTANTKardorff Ingenieure Lichtplanung


With the motto: ”Nationalmuseum in a New “, the Swedish National Museum reopened its doors in October 2018 after an extensive renovation. The museum, originally built by August Stüler, has been a landmark in Sweden since its opening in 1866 and is the largest art museum in the Nordic region. The combination of daylight and artificial interfering with the historically inspired colour concept for the interior walls provides a unique museum experience.


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Culture −

The exhibition of the collection of the Nationalmuseum challenged the lighting , especially as a daylight museum. All the different aspects of sun and glare protection, the properties of the glass in windows and roofs, and the artificial lighting have been methodically coordinated. The lighting moods of the individual gallery spaces do not give a static impression, but shift slightly according to the weather and the time of day. This helps create a living display and an engaging architectural experience.


Monument −

The original building by August Stüler, built in 1866, had been well preserved before the renovation, but it hosted many built-ins and had blocked windows. Within the extensive renovation, the building received new windows and skylights, the floor was lowered and the walls were painted in intense colours, following the original colour concept. The early involvement of lighting from competition to realization enabled a lighting concept that considered the monument and its challenges in a detailed way.


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Atrium −

For the illumination of the courtyards and the elevator, the team developed wall lights, placed high up where they can both illuminate sculptures and be used for different events.



The central staircase is lit by daylight and is decorated with a variety of wall paintings and sculptures. Unobtrusive spotlights on the column capitals illuminate the synthesis of the arts, small linear lights provide a uniform lighting of the ceiling bows


Exhibition −

In all the pillar halls, the lighting tracks span the gaps between the pillars, but always parallel to the direction of view of the visitor. Use is also made of the capitals of the pillars for these installations. The light fittings are positioned in such a way that their light falls not only on free-standing or wall-hung works, singly or in groups. Most of the display cases are also lit from the outside by spotlights.


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Daylight −

The glazed roof lanterns provide the large galleries with artificial as well as . Depending on the amount of daylight, is set at different dimming levels. A movable sunscreen, protected from the weather, can be used when there is too great a thermal load, direct sunlight or too much daylight. The textile sunscreen in front of the vertical windows can be closed in case of too much radiation with the possibility to look through.


Artificial Light 

All galleries besides Strömmen Gallery are equipped with flexible, track-mounted spotlights. Indirect lighting of cones and ceilings was added to the directional illumination of the walls, display cases and sculptures.



The spotlights used in the gallery spaces were precisely tailored to the requirements of the displays. Before they were selected, all the necessary beam angles, quantities of light and a host of other criteria were determined. The light cones chosen are very homogeneous and help to impart a harmonious overall feel to the galleries. The lights have a colour rendering index of over 90, the light colour is 3000K.


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