Al Salam Palace Museum

Kuwait City, Kuwait

Client: Amiri Diwan
Master planning & Exhibition Design: StudioMB

Services: Lighting Design
Overview: Museum and Cultural Centre (14, 971m2)
Completed: 2020

Immersive exhibition and architectural lighting in a war damaged and abandoned palace now repurposed as a museum and cultural centre.

The visitor journey, through 26 galleries over two floors, begins in a substantial circular Atrium with an immersive light, sound, and projection show. Large wall screens join to form a 290-degree cinema watched from the ground floor and the first-floor balcony. A 5-metre diameter screen inset into the atrium floor, named the “Well of History”, synchronizes with the audio-visual presentation high above. Lighting changes from an historic, warm light quality centred around the original 1960s chandelier to intense washes of colour that flood the room and bring the world of the projections into and over the atrium space and audience.

Ground Floor galleries present the interpretive theme of the “Palace Experience”, describing the history of the palace from inception to re-opening in 2020. Rooms were restored to the exact historic interiors resplendent at the time of the building opening. The lighting design seeks to replicate as authentically as possible the original lighting effects in these spaces. Historic records were carefully examined, and the type and distribution of light fittings matched with new replicas. The warm incandescent lighting of the Palace Experience is noticeably different to other areas, subtly reinforcing a sense of times past and enhancing the visitor experience.

First floor galleries present the “History of Kuwait” in a variety of styles which become increasingly modern as the journey progresses. Lighting is discreet and accurate ensuring the audio-visual and object display remain the focus of attention. Temporary exhibition galleries were design and fitted out with equipment to suit future use.

The entire project site is driven by a central lighting control system which can be accessed by the facilities staff on mobile devices. The technically complex system uses high speed data rates to ensure each gallery coordinates seamlessly with audio visual screens and projections without any time lag. Technicians can override the lighting scenes in real time where required, and the lighting programming later self-heals to restore the original lighting design intent.

NSLD collaborated with Light Medium to ensure lighting continuity throughout the building from the exhibition galleries to shops, a library, back of house and VIP areas.

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