Painting with Light, a lighting and multimedia expert, is powering a new interactive gallery concept, The Art Hour, located in the former Holy Ghost Chapel in Mechelen, Belgium.
Painting with Light is proud to have been invited to manage and design the technical systems and control for lighting, video, audio and humidity control for an innovative new project. Created by art collectors and entrepreneurs Hans & Joost Bourlon, The Art Hour aims to bring art to a wider audience.
In the former Holy Ghost Chapel, thirty-two paintings from sixteen 19th century Belgian painters are displayed across three gallery spaces. They are presented alongside relevant stories by well- known Flemish personalities.
Making art come to life
Wouter Verhulst of King Concept, the designer behind the project, selected Painting with Light for its technical and creative ingenuity. The company was able to use its wide range of expertise in creating visual experiences across several mediums, for example, theatre, live shows, attractions and themed environments.
When guests enter the first two rooms they are introduced to each painting, while a life-size projection of a personality tells its story. This is projected onto the wall next to the painting, using Panasonic devices. An electric curtain divides rooms one and two, sensing when to move aside.
To view the third room, guests enter the old chapel space, where they experience a darker and more intimate atmosphere. They are able to hear but not see the narrator, while they experience an immersive light show that compliments the art.
Luc Peumans, CEO of Painting with Light, says: “This project represents another milestone in the 20-year history of Painting with Light. In that time we have developed our know-how about how to combine creative and technical services for the ‘entertainment experience’, and for this specific project, our client had some extra challenges – the concept of visitors spending maximum one hour in the museum and focussing their attention on one painting at a time together with timing, lighting, audio and guest flow.
Total show control
During the initial phase of the design process, the gallery was created virtually is WYSIWYG, enabling it to be presented to stakeholders as a VR experience. Painting with Light delivered the full technical design including the projection system, creative lighting, audio track and control, plus specification, procurement and commissioning of all equipment and its implementation.
The light intensity automatically adjusts itself according to the time of day, based on readings from an externals sensor. The whole experience is controlled centrally from one room.
Tours take place every 20 minutes and last for one hour. When visitors arrive, they are given headsets and audio players. A countdown in the entrance hall highlights when the next ‘show’ is going to start. When the time arrives, the entrance door opens automatically.
A unique experience
The paintings are mounted on black walls. They are also lit from behind with RGB LED strips. These change colours to generate an ambient light adjusted to each work’s specific colour palette. Painting with Light ensured that the framing and highlighting were adjusted precisely to visitor’s viewing angles and that reflections were minimised.
Peumans adds: “Thanks to the talents of our multidisciplinary team and our spirit of pushing the boundaries, Painting with Light could deliver total show control for this unique experience. Our project manager Céline challenged herself to provide The Art Hour with full AV show control including automatic light settings, video projections and visitor guidance plus the correct humidity factors to protect the paintings. I’m very proud of all these achievements.”
Painting with Light celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019. The Belgian-based company has built up a strong track record of successful projects over the last two decades.