Opplyst is a new permanent exhibition at The National Library of Norway, Oslo. The title, meaning ‘Enlightened’, refers to the exhibition’s central concept: thirty highly significant objects from the country’s history put on display together for the first time.

We worked with architects and graphic designers Nissen Richards Studio to create a dramatic immersion into Norway’s fascinating history. Light and Darkness were metaphors for the exhibition, including the concept of knowledge arising like light out of the darkness which also became a structuring device for the overall design and display of content.

We used strongly defined narrow spotlights to give a sense of import and equality to each object. Graphic labels and contextual images were back lit with slim led sheets to keep the purity of the vertical spotlighting on the objects whilst giving best accessibility to the supporting material. We also designed a dynamic white grazing light on the bespoke textured timber walls which sees the gallery enveloped in a movement of light across its perimeter moving from a dawn type light, a warm 2200K colour temperature through to a purer midday light and the onto a cooler dusk of 7000K. This dynamic change was a subtle movement timed over a 60 second arc. This created an abstracted breath or wave – a constant natural cycle and rhythm bring a sense of both being in the present and being part of the bigger cycles of time and history that is pertinent to the narrative of the collection.

A threshold of white light surrounds the visitor on entering the gallery, an illuminated portal which serves to cleanse the visual palate from the distractions outside the gallery and then focus the visual field on the objects beyond. We utilised Bluetooth technology to create this bespoke installation of glowing objects with jewel-like lit dly interface. A marriage of innovation and aesthetic, both technical and creative.

We created with the client and creative team a cohesive visual world where light was used to express the concepts of the narrative. A rigorous testing and prototyping procedure were carried out with NRS and the specialist finish contractors Factory Settings (UK) and the bespoke showcase details with Meyvaert, specialist contractors based in Belgium. We specified Erco beam shaping profile spotlights for precise overhead lighting of objects. Erco dynamic white spotlights with oval bam distribution for the textured walls, Applelec lightsheet for back lit imagery and interpretation and Pico mini spotlights by Precision Lighting concealed in bespoke wall cases. Blue tooth control was by Casambi.

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