Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Wrightsman Galleries

Auerbach Glasow provided architectural lighting design for the renovation of The Wrightsman Galleries that dramatically transformed the galleries housing the museum’s renowned collection of furniture and decorative arts from lifeless museum displays into atmospheric environments.

Visual hierarchy/balance, shadow, color temperature, sparkle, time of day and place are woven into each room’s unique lighting and reveal the objets d’art within strict conservation limits. Period historic chandeliers, torchères and sconces were sensitively rewired, the internal lighting refurbished and candlesticks equipped with electric “flames” that subtly move. As no natural light penetrates any of the rooms, all of the lighting, including simulated daylight, is achieved with electric light sources.

Sophisticated but understated techniques were used including recessed low voltage lighting in the ceilings, tiny adjustable fixtures hidden in the chandeliers and fiber optic subminiature spotlights hidden in the people barriers at room entrances – highlight the pieces, while judicious use of fluorescent sources skillfully simulate daylight through windows. Sources are dimmable, allowing balance of the intensity of multiple light sources while extending individual lamp life. The sophisticated dimming system, with selected presets activated by an astronomical time clock, has manual override available for special events.

Client: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Size: 11,370 SF
Completion: 2007