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Technical environment

Technical environment

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Space Z, Beijing, Caochangdi, Beijing, China

Experimental space for art: Space Z, Beijing

Light for the perfect display of art

Space Z, originally an office building, is now an ‘experimental space’ for art, as described by artist Zeng Fanzhi. Fanzhi is a painter and is considered to be one of the most important Chinese artists of contemporary art. The contemporary, minimalist interior consists of a series of meticulously composed spaces – galleries as well as rooms for meeting, working and dining – tailored precisely to owner Fanzhi's needs.

The key to the design concept was the lighting as an essential component for the functions and moods of the individual areas. Above all, however, it enables the various works of art to be individually displayed. The rooms display various media and works, ranging from paintings and photography to installations, and spanning from antiquity to the present. Each work of individual epochs has different requirements for conservation and lighting. "Being able to showcase a diversity of works is an important part of our practice," says Zeng. "My standards for the lighting were high – the very latest technology for displaying art diversely and professionally."

The northern part of the building mainly houses the reception, enabling artists to welcome guests, whilst the southern part is intended for exhibiting artworks, including Zeng's own work. Architect Liang Jian Guo worked closely with ERCO to find the optimum lighting conditions for each space, including the integration of daylight. The exhibition spaces – the White Gallery, the Art Corridor and the Black Gallery – are centrepieces of the project.

The White Gallery

The main display space, the White Gallery, has five skylights. To preserve the exhibits in the best possible way, it is essential to screen them from direct sunlight, and uniform illumination of the walls was also vital.

The exterior of the skylights was shaded and metal lamellae were installed on the interior ceiling. Stella track-mounted wallwashers are installed in these lamellae, and continuous lines on the back of the lamellae illuminate the ceiling level. Stella is designed for rooms with high ceilings, and the luminaires provide high-lumen, efficient and precise accent lighting.

Space Z, Beijing

"The light fulfils three lighting tasks and functions," says Zeng. "One is general lighting by the track luminaires. The second is the uniform reflection of light, which makes the colours of the artworks stand out more. The third possibility is to combine the daylight entering through the skylights with a supplementary light source to achieve further effects in the exhibition lighting."

Space Z, Beijing

The Art Corridor

Stella luminaires were also used for the Art Corridor, which was transformed from a single-storey to a double-height space to accommodate the artist's larger paintings. The glazing at the end of the corridor establishes a connection with nature, providing a spectacular effect at sunset.

Space Z, Beijing

The Black Gallery

The Black Gallery is a small, high exhibition space with a square skylight designed to avoid the direct ingress of sunlight. The natural light is reflected by the walls and diffuses into the space, with Stella wallwashers powerfully illuminating the exhibits as needed.

The warm colour temperature was carefully calibrated to the dark colour of the walls to retain the tone desired by the artist, which corresponds to a particular Chinese aesthetic. "The final effect is now slightly green, which comes from the blue pigment of the grey wall mixing with the red and yellow of the warm light, thus finally forming a slightly aged green," states Zeng. "Sometimes sculptures are also displayed here, which calls for effective accent lighting," he adds. "It’s my hope that the darkness of the night can be transformed into a daylight effect through reflection and diffusion to enhance the atmosphere of the artworks."

Meeting Room

Another important area was the artist's meeting room, which has two floor-to-ceiling windows facing the courtyard on the north side but lacked the direct sunlight that the artist considered essential. His desire for nuanced interior atmospheres was met by the installation of a funnel-shaped skylight, with the light being controlled through electrically operated shading. This was complemented by Stella wallwashers and Gimbal spotlights – recessed spotlights with a compact, high-precision swivel mechanism installed in the inclined ceiling.

Different areas are defined by the colour temperature. The luminaires in the White Gallery and the Art Corridor have a neutral colour temperature of 4000K, as do the Pollux spotlights in the artist's study. In informal spaces such as the dining room where Parscan luminaires are used, these have a warmer 3500K temperature. The colour of the luminaires is also coordinated with the interior and furnishings – the Stella luminaires in the White Gallery and Art Corridor are silver for example, while the luminaires in the living room and Black Gallery are black. This achieves a perfect fusion of luminaire and architecture.

Space Z, Beijing

Luminaires used

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