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Lighting design reigns supreme at the Shenzen Museum of Contemporary Art

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A complex facade meant a challenge for the design team in charge of lighting this project. The result really is something else

Like a beacon in the night, this art centre stands out thanks to fantastic lighting design


Architect: HSArchitects
Lighting design: COOP HIMMELB(L)AU – Wolf D. Prix & Partner, GD-Lighting design
Photographer: He Shu
Location: Shenzen, China

About the project: The Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition (MOCAPE) in Shenzen, China is one of the latest public cultural projects in Shenzen. It's connected to the larger Museum of Contemporary Arts.

With a complex facade consisting of glass, perforated plate and stone set amongst a large steel structure, lighting was a significant challenge. The design team needed to ensure the lighting would illuminate the entire structure and be consistent. To solve these problems, they utilised a computer technique called building information modelling (BIM).

By constructing a 1:1 architectural digital model in Rhino (a piece of BIM software), the team mapped luminaire installation and also made multiple calculations with lighting design software to analyse photometric, power and material reflectance.

In addition, in order to resolve glare issues caused by the building’s concave and convex corners, the team carried out multiple on-site lighting tests. Considering the large quantity of luminaires and their installation difficulties, they decided to use custom-made U-shaped shading grooves with exterior baffles adjustable in heights to block glare, and coat the groove interior matt black to reduce self-illumination.


The construction and commissioning process of this project took advantage of BIM’s convenience, seamlessly integrated building and its façade, perfectly presented luminaire installation, load, wiring and visual effects; which also laid the foundation for future lighting design process on similar complex irregular- shaped buildings.

First published date: 08 September 2017

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