Light can have a significant impact on the perceived visual message of a place, on the emotions it generates and on the access to content, particularly when the place is a museum or gallery. In such spaces, light is central to the interaction between artworks, to highlighting an artist’s history and the meaning of a work, and to the general context in which works are located, often making the difference for the place being a key element. Or something to be deliberately left in the shadows. Using light to achieve these effects will never be successful unless the spirit of the place is truly understood, buffered by knowledge of the artists and how they created their works. Specializing in sophisticated and technological lighting solutions, Zumtobel bases its work on such understanding of light, leveraging its extensive experience in museum lighting to blend the excitement of focusing a visitor’s gaze, the immersive nature of such places, the interpretation and protecting an invaluable heritage.
The latter is an important consideration because, while providing optimal viewing conditions for a visitor is important, it cannot be to the detriment of the correct use of lighting that would otherwise damage photo-sensitive materials, such as watercolors, textiles or leather. Zumtobel avoids improvising on this front, having built its reputation on research and experimentation, working with lighting designers and exhibition curators to develop new possible solutions. An example of this is how it worked closely with Studio Consuline to improve the Monza Method, which was born originally from the creators’ experiments on the Chapel of Teodolinda. This three-dimensional perception lighting system was effectively a forerunner to tunableWhite technology. This is done by superimposing lights with different color temperatures from different directions. Although these chromatic degrees of light are barely perceptible to the naked eye, they are grasped almost subliminally by the human brain, stimulating interest and attention. Achieving this requires a merger of disciplines like neuroscience and neuro-esthetics.
Zumtobel’s tunableWhite technology condenses what has just been described into a single device and, combined with innovative Zoom Focus optics, authentically renders textures and colors, shades and materials, shaping perfect contrasts. “Art, design and architecture are foundational elements of our corporate culture”, stresses Isabel Zumtobel, Head of Art & Culture. “Interacting with top artists makes us look beyond, opens up new challenges and evokes beauty and emotion. It is like illuminating our souls, and in the end, that is what makes the difference”.