The new TIRPITZ is a sanctuary in the sand that acts as a gentle counterbalance to the dramatic war history of the site in Blåvand on the west coast of Denmark. The 2,800 m2 ‘invisible museum’ transforms and expands a historic German WWII bunker into a groundbreaking cultural complex comprising four exhibitions within a single structure, seamlessly embedded into the landscape. Upon arrival, visitors will first see the bunker until they approach through the heath-lined pathways and find the walls cut into the dunes from all sides and descend to meet in a central clearing. The courtyard allows access into the four underground gallery spaces that have an abundance of daylight even though they are literally carved into the sand. The exhibitions, designed by Dutch agency Tinker Imagineers, showcase permanent and temporary themed experiences that ground the tale of an impressive war machine. While set by the heavy hermetic object of the WWII bunker, the new TIRPITZ is a sharp contrast to the concrete monolith by camouflaging with the landscape and inviting lightness and openness into the new museum.
Hidden museum lights up in the dunes
In the protected dune landscape along the Danish west coast, the architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) have created a spectacular yet almost completely hidden museum. Louis Poulsen was in charge of the lighting plan, and designed a customised fixture for the project.
From the outset, light played a key role in designing the 2,800-square-metre exhibition space, which with its large open glass sections stands in strong contrast to the gloomy bunker behind.
Louis Poulsen developed a lighting plan for the project as well as a new pendant. The pure, conical shape effectively directs the light downwards, and ensures that the pendant illuminates the space and the exhibits without disturbing the dramatic effect of the exhibitions.
“In addition to the functional and technical requirements, we wanted to create a fixture which harmonises with the museum’s simple design idiom and execution in pure materials such as concrete, glass and steel. Everything is stripped down to the basics with absolutely no decoration – and this also needed to apply to the lamp. Therefore, we developed an LED fixture in a tight conical shape in galvanised zinc, which is perfectly suited to a building where nothing is painted, and everything is raw and naked and honest.”
Ole Elkjær-Larsen, an architect at BIG and project manager for the Tirpitz project.