The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway, , Norway

A sculpture, bridge and exhibition space – The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway

ERCO LED lighting tools in Bjarke Ingel's spectacular new museum building "The Twist"

The architects from BIG have constructed a connection spanning the Randselva river in the Norwegian sculpture park Kistefos in the form of an artistically twisted gallery building. The construction itself, clad in anodised aluminium sheet, adopts the mode of a sculpture. The interior of the "The Twist" consists of exhibition areas for alternating works of art, flexibly illuminated in a contemporary way with Parscan spotlights and lens wallwashers from ERCO.

Around one hour's drive from Oslo, on an idyllic location with wooded hills and a historic pulp mill on the River Randselva, the businessman and art collector Christen Sveaas opened the Kistefos sculpture park in 1999. The site is now considered to be the most important sculpture park in Scandinavia and comprises 46 works by Norwegian and international artists, including Tony Cragg, Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor. The new building "The Twist", inaugurated in September 2019 and designed by architects BIG Bjarke Ingels Group, supplements the location with an architecturally unusual exhibition space.

The 60-metre wide constructive bar that rotates through its central axis by 90 degrees bridges the gap between the lower south bank and the higher north bank of the river. It also serves as a gallery building with three exhibition areas on around 1,000 square metres: a room completely glazed on one side with a panoramic view into the landscape, a narrow, nine metre high room completely devoid of daylight, and the actual "Twist" that connects the two areas. In this twisted central section, wall is transformed into floor or ceiling plane and vice versa, and the wide fenestrated strip from the North Gallery is continued here as a narrowly tapering skylight.

The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway
The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway

"As a museum, "The Twist" brings together two very different spaces – a vertical gallery without daylight and a horizontal gallery featuring panoramic windows," explains Bjarke Ingels, architect and founder of the BIG Bjarke Ingels Group.

The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway

Parscan spotlights and lens wallwashers from ERCO: Ideal lighting tools for architecture and art

Within the complex construction the architects intended to create an impression of space that was as homogeneous as possible, allowing no superfluous detail to distract from the concentration on art. Walls, ceilings and floors are thus coated in a uniform white. All technology is concealed for visitors behind a wall and ceiling cladding of white wooden slats, which is also a reference to typical Norwegian construction methods. A lighting installation consisting of white Parscan lens wallwashers and spotlights was installed on white track in precisely milled sections within this cladding, appearing as an integral component of the interior. The Parscan spotlights can be equipped with different optics and can thus be flexibly adapted to the specific exhibits of the temporary exhibitions. The Parscan lens wallwashers on the other hand were mounted to extra-short sections of track – "It's how we make sure they're never moved into the wrong position," explains lighting designer Thea Collett from Light Bureau Norway.

The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway

"These days a more uniform illumination for art is popular," says lighting designer Thea Collett from Light Bureau. "The architects of "The Twist" specified very well lit exhibition rooms and a highly uniform lighting effect, which is the reason why we decided to install Parscan lens wallwashers supplemented by discreetly used Parscan spotlights for a little extra light on the works of art."

In combination with the ceiling-integrated, functional general lighting of the museum, the ERCO LED lighting tools illuminate the spaces and the objects and paintings they accommodate harmoniously and almost completely evenly – with only little directional light targeted onto the exhibits themselves. "Our holistic approach to the lighting concept accounts for the spectacular architecture, the art it displays and the people involved to an equal extent," explains Morten Jensen, Country Manager at Light Bureau Norway. "We create very well-lit exhibition spaces by selecting a 4000K neutral white light colour. By placing the focus on wallwashing we achieve a lighting effect that is as uniform as possible and that optimally emphasises the architecture. Carefully supplemented and aligned spotlights bring the very best out of the textures, shapes and colours of the exhibits."

The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway

The actual "Twist", the contorted middle section between the two exhibition spaces to the south and north of the building, is also displayed with exhibits. These are illuminated by Parscan spotlights with either spot or flood Spherolit lenses, mounted on track embedded in the wood panelling of the interior.

The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway

Parscan wallwashers with large lumen packages, supplemented by Parscan spotlights, illuminate the almost 9-metre high exhibition room in the south. From here, visitors cast their gaze through the entire building in a northerly direction.

The decision to install Parscan spotlights and lens wallwashers for the new museum was taken not only because of their precise and flexible lighting technology which places architecture and art at the centre of attention – their very good glare control also ensures a high level of visual comfort for visitors. In addition, several sizes are available, also with high lumen packages of 2779lm, as needed for example for vertically illuminating the nine metre-high southern gallery. The ERCO products also managed to win over the lighting designers and architects of The Twist from an aesthetic point of view: the minimalist design with its simple cylindrical form means that the different types of luminaires within the Parscan range adopt a highly uniform, discreet appearance in the spectacular exhibition spaces.

The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway
The Twist / Kistefos Museum, Norway

About the author:

Kristina Raderschad has run an editorial office in Cologne since 2005. A qualified interior designer (Dipl.-Ing.), her articles, reports and interviews on architecture and design are published worldwide – in magazines such as AD Architectural Digest, A&W, ELLE DECORATION, HÄUSER, MARK or WALLPAPER*.

Luminaires used

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