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Civic Maritime Museum

The Civic Maritime Museum’s new home is in the redeveloped area of Trieste's Porto Vecchio (Old Harbour) that features a series of renovated buildings that were previously used as warehouses. These are historic buildings and, more specifically, the museum has been relocated to the North Wing of Warehouse 26, that will become a real science museum complex.  
Mutability and dynamism are the basis of the design thinking behind this project. In fact, the layout allows elements to be constantly reused, so new exhibits and narratives can be accommodated as required. This historical storage facility has been recovered and refurbished in a highly functional way to house the museum collection, open it to public use and exhibit the elements that establish the Trieste Civic Maritime Museum as a place of conservation and study, featuring a workshop, the "Mario Marzari" specialist library and offices. 

The project is based on classic artwork storage crates, the typical wooden boxes commonly found in museum storerooms. These elements can be assembled in various ways to shape the exhibition space with different effects. The crates can become containers, showcases or backdrops according to the needs and rotation requirements of the museum’s exhibitions and exhibits. The layout concept envisages museum spaces as a kind of large backstage workshop. 
The areas, usually inaccessible to the public, therefore, come alive and become places for learning, sharing and allowing visitors to discover little-known aspects of museum life. 

The lighting solutions identified by architect Pedron in collaboration with the museum's curators and conservators, Andrea Bonifacio and Silvia Pinna, create a sense of homogeneity throughout the rooms by using limited types of luminaire. These include: Underscore no-dot LED strips, View and Light Shed luminaires with optics that vary according to different rooms and different natural lighting ratios. The entire system is operated using a BLE-DALI system. 

The museum experience begins with a lift journey to the third floor where the visitor finds themselves in a hall in front of a room in which exhibits are displayed along parallel corridors, created by large, light-coloured wooden packing crates. These crates form partitions and in some cases even act as showcases for the exhibits. The style is continued in the large, crate-like wooden panels used to indicate the various museum sections.  

The lighting throughout this area is created by a system of tracks that run parallel to each other, like the corridors, on which View Opti Beam round projectors have been installed with 45° visor and honeycomb louvres to resolve any glare issues. 
A great deal of work has gone into the design and construction of the showcases used to display the exhibits. There are four different types, and a specific lighting system has been developed for each of them.  

The first type of showcase displays objects resting on support structures, which in turn rest on crates, but are not covered by glass. Here, the lighting is created by track-installed View projectors fitted with different optics according to the type of exhibit. These range from Spot to Medium optics, which is the type of optic most used in this exhibition area.  

The second type of showcase (T2) is fully glazed (except for the base). Here the lighting is created by View projectors mounted on a track. In certain cases, displaying selected exhibits, these are supplemented by Palco LV ∅ 19 mm luminaires, mounted on rods and positioned inside the showcase.  
The third type of display (T3) are the very large showcases that house the museum’s ship models. Here the lighting is focused on one of the glass faces. Dimmed Underscore no-dot luminaires have been installed on the four edges of the main glass face (and only on this face) and these are supplemented by accent lighting created by external View projectors that are carefully aimed to avoid generating reflections in the glass.  

The fourth type of showcase, (T4) has three closed sides and one open, glazed side, which can be either front or top. For this type of showcase, two Underscore no-dot LED strips have been positioned behind a wooden frame. In this case, the Underscore luminaires have been installed on the edges of various faces instead of just one, and they are supplemented by Palco LV ∅ 19 mm luminaires.  The only situation in which Palco projectors have not been used is a showcase containing books, where only Underscore luminaires are used to limit light exposure. 

In this area of the museum, the natural light intake is zero as the skylights on the roof have all been fitted with obscured glass.  
The far side of this floor houses the museum library, archive, offices, workshops and storage room.  
The library is a space equipped with tables where its volumes can be consulted, whereas there is only limited access to the museum archives.  
This area features a large glass partition behind which restoration work is carried out. This can be viewed by visitors from the benches provided. 

Throughout this area the lighting system is the same as in the exhibition section. This features black, track-mounted View Optibeam Round projectors fitted with visors, honeycomb louvres and mainly Wide Flood optics. There is more natural light here, so the two components have been carefully balanced. The system is BLE-DALI-controlled, and all the scenarios are designed by the architect Pedron with a slight variation between the exhibition area and the set-up for the library, restoration and storage area. 
Using BLE technology has significantly simplified wiring issues by avoiding the installation of new cable runs.  
Four scenarios have been created: General off; cleaning: in which all luminaires are at 100%; daytime: always on with dimming at 60-65%; evening at 75-80%. 
This setting meets different time frame requirements and has been set by the museum technicians. The two wireless control panels: one in the exhibition area and one in the work area, are set in the same way. 

In the exhibition area, the BLE interface is positioned directly on the tracks and inside each showcase. This allows each luminaire (a total of 238) to be controlled individually. Not a lot of natural light reaches the central area of the exhibition section due to the position of the windows and the layout of the crates. Despite this, dimming the luminaires by 60-65% creates an extremely homogeneous light effect.  

In the work area, there are several skylights and the inflow of natural light is therefore quite high.  
In this area the BLE interface is only track-mounted.  
In the offices and reading room, on the other hand, Light Shed luminaires fitted with General Lighting optics have been used. Here, to create a general light effect, the lighting system is organised into groups for the shelving and groups for the walkways.  
Whereas, on the two worktables used by the restorers operating behind the glass partition, the light beams created by the projectors have been deliberately crossed to limit shadow effects.  

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  • Year
  • Client
    Municipality of Trieste
  • Architectural project:
    Studio Apml Architetti Pedron / La Tegola
  • Lighting project:
    Studio Apml Architetti Pedron / La Tegola
  • Showcases:
    Bawer Museum
  • Photographer
    Alessandra Chemollo