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Technical environment

Technical environment

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La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

We are in the new Patrimonio Nacional museum built in the Royal Palace complex in Madrid. The Royal Collections Gallery, located in the heart of history and art, houses an impressive collection of cultural treasures from the Crown's patrimony, and becomes a tribute to our past. Every corner of this gallery breathes history, from its imposing walls to the masterpieces it houses.
This fully contemporary work was designed by the architects Emilio Tuñón Álvarez and Luis Moreno Mansilla, and inaugurated by the King and Queen on 25 July 2023. Its façade is made up of reinforced concrete pillars covered with granite slabs on the outside. The interior is surprising for its spaciousness, natural light and views of the exterior landscape. The building has a total floor area of 40,475 m2 distributed over 6 floors.

La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

The museum model chosen is linear, with a descending main route, starting at the entrance located between the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral, and the museum itself, and ending on floor -3, at the level of the Campo del Moro gardens. It has more than 3,200 m2 for the permanent exhibition and more than 1,300 m2 for temporary exhibitions. A visit is a journey through five centuries of art and the history of the kings of Spain, making it a showcase for the beauty, culture, and history of Spain.
Access to the exhibition rooms is via a large ramp. From the eye of the ramp through the handrails is the only place from where the great height of the building can be appreciated. At the time of the inauguration, the exhibition halls for the collections would be: floor -1, where the works from the Habsburg period are located, floor -2 for the emblematic pieces of the Bourbons and floor-3, where the large collection of carriages is housed. However, the exhibition discourse will be in permanent transformation, so we need a great deal of versatility and flexibility when it comes to changing these spaces and displaying the grandeur of the works.

La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

When it came to designing the lighting for this space, architects Emilio Tuñón Álvarez and Luis Moreno Mansilla were involved in providing the general lighting system together with ERCO's experienced lighting consultants. The project brief consisted of two interventions: lighting the container on the one hand, and the contents on the other.

To unify the two solutions, a ceiling designed, manufactured and installed by ERCO's ceiling architecture department was installed between the beams. This ceiling is built with an aluminum profile, designed specifically for this space, housed between the porticoes at a distance of 50 cm to leave the upper part free for installations. The design of the profile was perfectly studied. It meets different needs, such as being used to support the ceiling plate that would conceal the installations, as a support for the recessed rails from which the lighting of the contents will be carried out, and made with a specific inclination that would completely conceal the lighting intended for the container.

La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

The lighting of the container is undetectable and is resolved from the upper part of the profile that includes a linear system with a specific optic. In this way, we simulate the effect created by natural light, creating the rhythms of illuminated planes and dark planes.

The lighting of the content is designed from the ends of the ceiling tiles where the electrified rails that will support the projectors are embedded. They are located on both sides of the tile to allow the possibility of attacking the works at the right angles and orientation. ERCO's lighting design for the Royal Collections Gallery is also based on the integration of light into the architecture. In this way, the chosen luminaires, discreet and elegant, blend in with the historical and architectural structure of the site, respecting its aesthetics and heritage. This system of projectors was chosen because they can be used in a very flexible way, allowing for future interventions or changing the organization and visual perception depending on the temporary exhibition.

La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

To illuminate the content of the works on display in this emblematic space, we faced the challenge of an architecture of these dimensions, with heights of 6 to 8 meters and great diversity in the size and material of the pieces to be seen. We discover large-scale tapestries, carriages, costumes, armor, vases and so on.

La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

This wide variety of sizes and volumes must be taken into account when choosing the product with which to illuminate. A flexible family of floodlights was selected, offering highly versatile features, in order to be able to cover all works. Thus, with the same external appearance of the product, we obtain different optics for absolute control of the light, we can vary the intensity of the light according to the needs of the work.

For high spaces, narrow beams of light are essential for high visual comfort. For this reason, closed lenses such as narrow spot, spot and flood are used. By giving them the right orientation and angle, they flood and accentuate only the construction site and not the rest of the environment. The distances from which we project also play a role. A greater distance requires more power to achieve similar levels of illumination compared to shorter distances.

La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

Thanks to ERCO's technology and optical control, its floodlights do not directly dazzle. One of the floodlights supplied for this space is the Eclipse InTrack with a lens for sharp-edged contour reproduction using contour control. This projector makes it possible to generate freely adjustable and sharply delimited light beams. By simply turning the lens, the beam diameter can be infinitely adjusted from spot (15°) to wide flood (65°). It is particularly suitable for illuminating areas with changing exposed products.

La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

The spectral sensitivity of the objects in the collection needs to be determined individually. A light spectrum with a low harmful effect is essential for the presentation of art according to conservation criteria. High-quality LEDs can be guaranteed to avoid UV and IR components in the spectrum. We categorize works with low photosensitivity (no restrictions), medium photosensitivity (200 lx) and high photosensitivity (50 lx). And the exposure time is taken into account as a determining factor. Each material from tapestries, manuscripts, textiles, oil paintings, polychromes, metal, stone must be illuminated in a specific way.

La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

Taking this particularity into account, the content is treated with a more scenic lighting, playing with light and shadow, where we generate different focuses of attention for the observer. For example, with this play of contrasts, we highlight the sculptural details of these four imposing Solomonic columns. The light draws the details and golden reliefs of the shaft of the columns decorated with vine leaves and bunches of grapes, and reveals the intense lapis lazuli blue that was recovered after the restoration. The columns are 5.65 meters high, so we use spotlights with very narrow louvres, which are essential for great visual comfort. They also allow the light to be directed only where we want it to stand out.

La Galería de las Colecciones Reales, Madrid

Thanks to the innovative technology provided by ERCO products, we achieve a great versatility of light beams, a variety of wattages, high visual comfort and a specific control for the luminaires through a single family of floodlights.

The floodlights used allow us to direct the light precisely, eliminating glare and protecting the works. Ensuring that visitors enjoy the visual experience at its best. Energy-efficient LEDs with excellent color rendering are essential to create the right atmosphere in this historic space and maintain the artists' intentions. In addition, all the projectors implemented in this work are DALI, to achieve absolute control of the installation.

In conclusion, the Royal Collections Gallery is an impressive example of how innovative lighting can elevate an art collection to new heights. With ERCO's lighting principles and the choice of high-quality luminaires, a unique visitor experience has been achieved. This collaboration between tradition and modern technology demonstrates that lighting can be an art form in its own right, capable of enhancing and protecting our cultural heritage.

Luminaires used

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