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ÅF Lighting wins the Swedish Lighting Award

The National Library of Sweden’s Annex won this year’s Swedish Lighting Award. The award ceremony was held on 9 September at Bern’s Salonger in Stockholm.

The jury’s motivation mentions the interaction between daylight, electrical lighting and the bold choice of colours as the reasons behind their choice. In addition, the jury was impressed by the project team’s ability to transform a dim, colourless and mundane space into a light, inspiring place for study in a way that shows a great depth of knowledge and innovation skills specific to the lighting industry.

This project has been a big, exciting challenge for us,” says Isabel Villar, the responsible lighting designer. “Our goal has been to design lighting that allows all of the spaces in the three underground levels to be used, even though there are large areas that have no access to daylight. Today if you visit the Annex there are people using all of the niches and alcoves on all three floors, which makes me very happy.

Story and concept
The main building at the National Library was built in 1877. Its underground levels, the National Library Annex, were built in the late 1990s and renovated in 2012-2013. The Annex consists of three levels located below ground with only one skylight to let in daylight.

The vision for the lighting design in the Annex was to capture the essence of the architecture and to make a solution which is responsive to the activities in the building. The lighting concept is designed to create a smooth transition between daylight and non-daylight areas. Furthermore the lighting is integrated with the architecture and adaptable for the typical user’s specific needs, as well as for the different levels of natural light that during the day and throughout the seasons. Illuminating vertical surfaces to reduce contrasts between the skylight and the darker parts of the building increases the use of the entire space.

Project participants: 
User: The National Library of Sweden
Purchaser: The National Property Board of Sweden
Lighting designers: Isabel Villar (, Daniel Hodierne (, Majid Miri ( Ljusarkitektur – ÅF Lighting
Architects: Murman Arkitekter, Hans Murman, Lars Johan Tengnér, Helena Ljungberg Manrell, Tarja Berggren
Electrical consulting: Sweco Systems
Electrical installation: El linjen