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Halloween at Nordiska Museet

What would happen if you gave a group of lighting designers free rein to turn a cathedral-like museum into a haunted castle? During the time of Halloween 2016, citizens and visitors to Stockholm found out.

“I quitted my seat, and walked on, although the darkness and storm increased every minute, and the thunder burst with a terrific crash over my head.” – Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley

For one week, ÅF Lighting was allowed to transform the grand historic building that is housing the Nordic Museum into something out of Frankenstein. The ambition was achieved with customized lighting installations and special effects.

As the darkness settled over Stockholm, the museum façade was bathed in a glowing blue light. Lightning struck the high towers, where ghosts and spirits moved, frightening passers-by. Inspired by the “Eye of Sauron”, a powerful moving head was installed at the top of the highest tower, casting a 360-degree beam of light that could be seen from all across the city.

The client requested an eye-catching lighting design that would attract families to the festivities being held in the museum. Although the lighting was designed for the exterior of the building, those who visited the inside of the museum were able to experience the lighting and special effects through large skylights.

Francesco Guastella, lighting designer at ÅF Lighting, describes the project:

”We had to think outside the box in order to devise a lighting design that was a bit frightening, but also intriguing and eye-catching. With the decorative lighting we emphasized the architecture by creating a gloomy, dark, evening atmosphere that would work well in combination with the dramatic special effects.”

As a final trick, visitors exiting the castle had to face a window that was “attacked” by zombies. This was achieved with a technique similar to that used to create the ghosts in the towers. With a thick white fabric taped to the back of the window, the zombies could be projected onto the screen through back lighting. For the turquoise ghosts, a double layer of mosquito net was used, to convey a sense of transparency.

Within a mere ten weeks, and with a limited budget considering the scale of the project, ÅF Lighting succeeded in creating a Halloween light show that attracted over 2000 visitors to the 100-year-old museum. The project was well covered on social media with thousands of likes and shares within the week.

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