Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York City, NY

Lighting Designer:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was founded in 1870, houses 2 million works of art from various eras throughout the world. Its collections range from ancient Egypt to modern American design. It is the largest art museum in the United States and it attracted more than 6 million visitors last year

Inspired by the recent renovation of the Lincoln Center, David H. Koch donated US$ 65 million to refurbish the space outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Deteriorating fountains from the 1970s were replaced and moved closer to the front steps at 82nd Street, tree plantings were doubled, and new energy-efficient lighting was installed. The project was completed in September 2014, following two years of design and construction.

The project was designed by OLIN, the landscape architecture, urban design, and planning firm. The plaza covers 70,706 square feet of public space along four blocks of sidewalks on Fifth Avenue that are used by 6 million pedestrians a year. The steps outside the museum, designed in 1968 by Roche Dinkeloo and Associates, are highly popular for leisurely watching passers-by and an iconic location for movie and television productions. In addition to the seating that the steps provide, the project has added an area that contains 30 tables with parasols and 120 movable chairs. Combined with the newly planted 106 London Plane and Little Leaf Linden trees, this area provides shady relief from the urban ‘heat island’ effect.

An impressive number of ETC330 gimbal LED inground uplights – provided by WE-EF with lighting design by L’Observatoire International – illuminate portions of the Museum’s facade and trees throughout the plaza. Various types of beam distribution and optical accessories were selected to achieve the desired lighting effects, which was made possible by the flexibility of WE-EF’s LED lens system.

Along the base of the facade, WE-EF inground uplights are arranged in groupings of two to fulfill twin functions: the first inground luminaire features a wide beam distribution to illuminate the bottom portion of the facade; the second – comprising a combination of a very narrow beam ‘sharp cut-off’ distribution together with a linear spread lens – illuminates the architectural details above. A color temperature of 2700 K was selected to enhance the warm tones of the historical facade. A custom ‘overlap trim ring’ (an extended diameter of the luminaire frame) was developed to conceal gaps between the luminaire installation and the surrounding ground surface.

In the central plaza, ETC330 gimbal inground uplights use a medium beam distribution to illuminate the trees in the seating area. The 3500 K color temperature provides a relaxed cool tone for the trees as well as an elegant contrast with the warm tone of the Museum’s facade.

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