Client: Daimler Chrysler Immobilien (DCI) GmbH
Architect: UN Studio, Amsterdam
Lightingdesign: Ulrike Brandi Licht
Completion: 2006

Mercedes Benz Museum, Stuttgart

The light in the Mercedes Benz Museum supports the perception of the building as a landscape. The audience walks through daylit rooms with bright ceilings creating a kind of “sky light.” Dark, nighttime scenarios provide contrast. Embankments, winding paths and distant views evoke scenes of a varied landscape.

UN-Studio conceived a logic of surfaces for the Mercedes-Benz Museum. In the rooms facing the outside with daylight, shiny materials of the metal facade draw inside. Brilliant light reflections are created on the exhibited vehicles in a bright environment. In contrast, as a bi-metal, the “backsides” of these surfaces appear as matte, rough surfaces. They almost let the space disappear to allow the objects in the exhibition shine. The light is directed and staging.

The characteristic form of the Mercedes Benz Museums was inspired by its direct environment. The “skylight” changes the atmosphere depending whether it comes from North, East South or West. Calculations showed the daylight factor and its development in the exhibition rooms and the atrium.
Both analyses digital and in a 1:24 model showed the contrasts the visitors were to experience when exploring the museum.
The results of these analyses were the basis to the façade lighting concept. Depending on the orientation (North, South, East, West) the printed matrix of the facade is of varying density.

Luminaire design
In the collection rooms, daylight and artificial light play together.
The points of brilliance are created in the light of narrow beam spotlights that can be rotated to create different light directions. We developed them especially for the museum. Each special luminaire is equipped with three spotlights.
To show the ceiling “sky-bright” only succeeded, together with the brightly designed floor, which reflects the light back onto the ceiling. A sophisticated gradient printing of the bright glass light openings creates the soft transition from the high luminances of the spotlights to the massive ceiling.

The Mercedes Benz Museum rises out of the undulating, designed landscape. It is bright and its entrance prominent. Different elements are grouped in the landscape around the building: an arena, “pockets” – small valleys with clusters of trees, a drive, and steps. Low mounted light creates a space with different nuances of white light (from warm white to neutral white). Some areas are emphasised and others left darker. Hardly visible as luminaire bodies in the daytime, they lend the Museum an impressive appearance as it shines from the interior.