Tokyo architect Akira Kuryu designed an Ise Shrine Sengu museum where, for the first time, visitors are able to view large-scale models of and artifacts salvaged from the buildings. Because he needed good lighting to accentuate the displays, Kuryu turned to the Tokyo-based Lighting Planners Associates (LPA).
LPA developed an illumination plan that creates a series of contrasting light and dark spaces. “Merging natural and artificial light was the most important consideration,” says lighting designer Kaoru Mende. Blending the two enabled the museum to rely on daylight during its hours of operation (it closes at 4 p.m., except on special holidays), so visitors are able to view the displays as if in the shrine's natural setting.
By paying close attention to the sun's daily cycle, keeping the installed lighting elements to a minimum building-wide and fine-tuning the intensity of each one, LPA makes it seem as if there are barely any lights at all.