The Artequin Museum in Santiago, Chile, is a place where education and entertainment come together. For over 25 years, the visitor experience has been at the center of the museum. Reproductions of famous contemporary artworks hang at a kid-friendly height in an environment that encourages children and families to explore, have fun and learn.
Inspired by art and education
In 2018, the Artequin – a striking pavilion that was originally built as part of the 1889 Paris Exhibition – was transformed with a new lighting design by Paulina Villalobos of DIAV. Just as the museum itself provides interactive education to its visitors, the lighting design combines colors, sounds and forms to give viewers an interactive lesson on light and perception. The design is inspired by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky and powered by photovoltaic renewable energy.
A bold façade
The museum’s colorful façade is illuminated with the hues of a Santiago sunset. Monet’s paintings of Rouen Cathedral welcome visitors to the museum in different colors according to the light level at the time of day. The façade illumination changes in a two-minute sequence from a warm orange sunset to a pale purple dawn. As color was such a pivotal design element, Color Kinetics was chosen for its precisely controllable luminaires which can produce millions of saturated colors to highlight architectural features.
The characters of Kandinsky’s 1940 painting ‘Sky Blue’ are taken out of their pictorial context and transformed into light projected over the entrances of the plaza and museum entrance area. These odd creatures paint the pavement with light create a sense of fun and intrigue, inviting in with a truly unique and welcoming museum lighting experience.
In the playground, three spot luminaires each project a primary color in alternating turns. When one luminaire spot is red, another is green, and another is blue. This basic color three-color sequence changes every few seconds. Below the changing lights, the playground’s surfaces form a calm and stable presence, remaining continuously white – until someone interrupts the dynamic display to create shadows. Children soon see that these shadows break down into six colors through this playful lesson of light and color. When the basic saturated red, green and blue colors become mixed, the silhouettes glow with complementary colors of magenta, yellow and calypso, reminiscent of a bold, technicolor pop art painting.
Incorporating the sun
The shading triangle is a structure inclined 33° north – the latitude of Santiago – so that its photovoltaic panels are perpendicular to the average solar radiation (equinox) to capture as much sunlight as possible. This produces clean energy that is used to illuminate the square at night and power USB charging ports. Art enthusiasts will notice that the triangle is inspired by Kandinsky. The shadows it casts create a triangular shape on the floor that changes with the motion of the sun, beautifully combining some of the artist’s trademark colors.
The plaza also features a sundial that, as standard, indicates the time and date during the day. At night, however, it becomes an art installation as its timelines light up with strokes of warm light.