Montreal, Canada, 2012-02-22 -
Lightemotion, the Montreal-based lighting design studio, has illuminated the Ajax Experience, a new interactive museum that tells the story of Ajax FC, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious football clubs from the Netherlands.
Located in an existing building in central Amsterdam, the Ajax Experience has been architecturally designed by Sid Lee Architecture in collaboration with interactive and exhibit designer gsmprjct° who designed the museum scenography, Sid Lee and Jimmy Lee. Lightemotion was commissioned alongside these respected architecture and design studios, with whom it has collaborated before, to bring even more dynamism and excitement to the Ajax Experience.
Francois Roupinian, founder of Lightemotion, says: “Ajax is one of the most respected football clubs in the world, and it is renowned for its innovative training methods. We have tried to capture the romance of the game and the inspiration behind the cutting edge techniques of the club in our work. We want to create an atmosphere that is dynamic and celebratory, inspirational and exciting, just like Ajax FC.”
Split into three main areas, the Ajax Experience begins in the History Hall. This bright space, lit partially by daylight, presented a few challenges to Lightemotion because of the diversely angled wall and a ceiling with a steep diagonal pitch. Metal halide light sources are installed on structural columns, cross lighting the dynamic wall, while LED fixtures bathe the red inclined ceiling plane.
“When you’re in the space, you don’t notice the lighting,” says Roupinian. “The wall just seems to glow.”
Visitors step from the History Hall into the Ajax Academy and instantly the atmosphere changes. Here, in the confines of a windowless space, black angular walls are a backdrop for both traditional and interactive exhibits. The space is dark. Illumination is concentrated on the exhibits, and here again it is unnoticeable.
Using LEDs and halogen lamps Lightemotion illuminates the showcase displays from within, via backlit panels and spotlights; while ceiling mounted fixtures, quite literally put the spotlight on the visitor as they travel through the exhibition.
“We’re giving the visitor a taste of what it’s like to be a famous player. Putting them in the spotlight creates a connection, a relationship between them and their heroes,” says Roupinian.
Visitors also get the chance to visit the locker room and take a walk down the tunnel to the pitch. Red spotlights again make the visitor the star of the show, while red beams create the illusion of the stadium.
The final space is the Retail store. As in the History Hall, daylight is supplemented by discreet artificial lighting. However, Lightemotion has opted to uplight the merchandise displays to retain the ‘exhibit’ feel and thus enhance the buying experience.
“Our challenge was to create a dynamic solution for the Ajax Experience amidst many different installations and spaces,” says Roupinian. “The key to the success of our design was using only a narrow range of product types - Luminergie, iGuzzini and Philips Selecon – but concentrating on high quality light sources and accessories along with extremely good control of the lighting.”
The result is an exciting museum experience filled with a dynamism that has been created by light, and Lightemotion.
Lightemotion: lighting up the world
François Roupinian, founder of Lightemotion, has surrounded himself with a multidisciplinary, multicultural team, managing projects in no less than five languages. Lightemotion, presently celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2012, has origins in the fields of the performing arts and multimedia. The company has since expanded into other fields of expertise, such as architectural and museum lighting; its signature style giving the studio an international reputation through work on major projects in Canada, Europe, the United States, Asia, the Middle East, New Zealand and Australia.
The scope of the company's work is broad, including lighting designs for exhibitions (Museum of Strasbourg, Naturalis Museum in Leiden, National Museum of Singapore and the country’s National Library), as well as cabarets (at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas) and casinos, such as the Revel Casino in Atlantic City which is due to be completed in 2012.
Recently, Lightemotion put its architectural lighting signature on the the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archeology travelling exhibit inaugurated at the Montreal Science Centre; the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile of Torino and the Wine Museum of Barolo in Italy; plus the Auckland War Memorial Museum, marking its 80th anniversary.
The Montreal-based company also created the dramatic lighting design for the Canada Pavilion in Shanghai at Expo 2010, as well as The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal, opening in 2012.