Design Narrative

The central stairwell at the newly opened Copenhagen City Museum is a beautifully ornamented and listed space with arched ceilings and stained-glass motifs. The stairwell is the central access point to the two floors of the exhibition and plays an essential role in the visitor’s first experience, inviting, guiding, and distributing people.

The stairwell installation is conceptually grounded in the idea of the vertical city. As you move up through the stairwell, on each floor, you encounter a bespoke distorted glass disc referencing the windows of Copenhagen and life behind. The installation also features a custom-made solid oak piece that symbolizes the spires of the Copenhagen skyline.

The design of the installation is solved using a minimal simple structure in black rotated as the balustrade of the staircase. The installation is 11 meters tall and is designed to be self-supporting with only 8 horizontal supports.

The Design Challenge

Almost the entire stairwell is ornamented. The decorated arched ceilings, the windows and the walls are listed and thus no mounting possible. Furthermore, the only access to electrical power was one outlet at ground floor. The stairwell is the central backbone of the museum and had to be intriguing and inviting to the visitor. The Challenge was to make the installation “rest” naturally in the space without taking the breath away from the ornaments and glass motifs in the space.

Technical design

The entire structure is built of four interlocking low voltage tracks from Buschfeld.

All tracks are electrically separated and can in total carry 4x 25A @ 48VDC and thus solving the installation need for 2 separated powerfeeds for circulations areas solved in one central installation.

The Lighting is solving both decorative as well as functional lighting meeting Danish requirements. The spots are low voltage SORAA spotlights with integrated Xicato controlled dimmer in the adaptor Buschfeld. Both the luminaires as well as tracks have been developed in close collaboration with Buschfeld Lighting.

The glass windows is the result of a collaboration with glass artisan Anders Raad. The glass windows have been produced using a traditional method for manufacturing crown glass, one of the earliest low dispersion glasses, hand-made by a glass artisan. The light behind them is by LedNer lighting

Context of the museum

In 2020, the new Copenhagen Museum opened in Stormgade 20, in the very heart of Copenhagen. This was the climax to a 5 year period of restoration work and exhibition build up.

Fortheloveoflight have been responsible for the lighting in collaborating with JAC studios architects. The museum tells the history of the city, from ancient times to modern political events and urban planning. The museum’s new exhibitions are distributed throughout two floors, inviting visitors to move through different spaces and periods to experience the essence of the city, its boroughs, and inhabitants.


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