The light of culture

History is narrated in the new Oman Across Ages Museum, thanks to an evocative project by Cox Architecture and high-performance lighting solutions by iGuzzini

Oman Across Ages Museum, Nizwa, Oman
Oman Across Ages Museum, Nizwa, Oman

To conserve the memory of the nation’s cultural heritage, and above all to pass it on to the new generations. This was the aim of the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said (1940-2020), which has become reality through the creation of a contemporary, interactive and technological facility. The new Oman Across Ages Museum, designed by the Australian firm Cox Architecture near the ancient city of Nizwa, after lengthy work conducted in close contact with the Royal Court of Affairs (RCA), sheds light on the civilizations and dynasties of the country.

The museum complex, on an area of 300,000 square meters, takes visitors on a journey that starts in prehistoric times and extends into the period of economic, technological,  political and social modernization, which began in the 1970s, precisely under the rule of Qaboos bin Said al Said. The architecture, of great visual impact, pays tribute to the past, consigning it to the future of architecture, in an experience like that of an oasis surrounded by desert.

On the horizon, monoliths in local stone stand out, whose vast size – 130,000 sqm – permits cooling of the warm air inside. The low profile on the eastern side offers protection from direct morning sunlight. Light can be said to triumph in this project, in terms of knowledge and growth as well as its role in the construction.

The technical lighting development by LDPi, together with the solutions by iGuzzini, become fundamental for the interpretation of the container and its contents. Outside, the large triangular sail that sets the building’s character is lighted in a homogeneous, complete way. One side relies on the Platea Pro super spots and optical spotlights, in a particular bronze-colored finish, tested to stand up to the difficult weather conditions. The other side is bathed in grazing light from the Linealuce built-in fixtures, for a uniform effect.

Inside, the length of the corridors and breadth of the halls are emphasized by lines of built-in lighting, including the adjustable Reflex lamps with a 25° optical design. For the latter, and for iN60, the architects have developed special compartments to house the fixtures, providing ample light emission without glare.

In the auditorium the general lighting is covered by the Palco spotlights, mounted on tracks and installed between the large wooden ceiling panels. Along the staircases, each riser is equipped with the Underscore model. For the walls, the Linealuce mini 47 spreads soft, reassuring brightness.