Edutainment & Infotainment

German Hat Museum in Lindenberg im Allgäu

The premises
Up until the 1970s, the municipality of Lindenberg in Westallgäu was one of Germany’s most important hat-making centers. The ‘Matelot’ straw hat produced there, known colloquially as the Kreissäge (buzz saw), was a global export hit. The hat factory formerly known as Ottmar Reich now houses the German Lindenberg Hat Museum and its unique exhibition of industrial and local history, fashion, and manufacturing. Covering an area of 1,000 square meters, the museum reveals to visitors the milliner’s trade in its traditional and modern guises. It shows how various hats and head-coverings were made over the course of time and as fashion changed. The exhibition includes around 250 different types of hat, numerous hat sewing machines, and other tools and materials used by milliners and modistes. Paintings, drawings, and photographs capture 300 years of hat industry in Lindenberg, which in its heyday was known as ‘Little Paris’. Renowned designers from ATELIER BRÜCKNER were commissioned to devise a concept of what the Lindenberg Hat Museum would contain, and to creatively design its permanent exhibition. The overall project manager was Bernd Möller. The Museum’s well researched, but also visually attractive, exciting, and entertaining history of hats was awarded the Bavarian Museum Prize in 2015.

The task
The Museum was set up in a 1923 industrial building which was converted into a cultural venue by Jauss+Gaupp Architekten BDA.

On the ground floor there is a foyer and a restaurant in the hat factory’s former boiler house. An event space called the Kulturboden can accommodate 200 guests on the top floor. Then there are two floors extending over 500 square meters and housing exhibitions on hat fashion and manufacturing, each of which is built around a central installation surrounded by chronologically arranged units, interactive stations, and media points.

In the first exhibition level on the fourth floor, six theme islands reconstruct the history of the town and of hat-making: the origins of straw hat production around 300 years ago, the transformation from cottage industry to industrial production, the industry’s apogee, and then the current state of affairs with just one remaining hat firm in Lindenberg and one more in the neighboring town. The milliner’s trade is depicted in what is referred to as the ‘factory movie theater’. The second exhibition level on the fifth floor takes this story further. A ‘Hat Tornado’ developed by ATELIER BRÜCKNER forms a central object of art, picking up the history shown on the floor below, presenting well known and famous hat-wearers, and giving movement to the space around (Anja Luithle was responsible for artistic implementation).

It was important for the exhibition and exhibits to be brought to life by lively, intriguing lighting that produces an atmospheric setting. The aim was to take an integrative approach to the existing architecture so as to link the building to the exhibition. The well-known lighting design office LDE (Light Design Engineering) Belzner Holmes was commissioned to design and plan the exhibition lighting, a project which was managed by Stefanie Schuster and Paopanga van de Ven.

The job of constructing the lighting meticulously and true to the plans, and making the basic lighting and exhibition lighting operational, was given to the team at ASC SÜD. They were asked to bring the lighting and objects to the fore, while keeping the technical equipment and components in the background in order to integrate the lighting as far as possible into the architecture. This required some delicate installation and adjustment work.
The solution
The exhibition lighting designed by LDE draws the observer’s attention to the exhibits and provides a link between the exhibition architecture and sensitively displayed exhibits. ASC purchased, supplied, installed, and put into operation the lighting components required by the plans, and in doing so installed the basic and exhibition lighting systems.

The rooms in the Hat Museum are darkened. Because fabric hat exhibits are sensitive to light, daylight was shut out and filtered as far as possible. All of the lights are dimmable, and the lighting planners placed a lot of emphasis on color contrasts between warm and cold lights.

For the background lighting in the exhibition rooms at Lindenberg Hat Museum, new cable ducts were laid and florescent tubes installed in them and in existing cable ducts. The ceiling lighting is ‘hidden’, and various types of small, high-quality, stainless steel LED luminaires made by Eigenart are suspended in profiles to suit the exhibition. These illuminate the exhibits and graphical displays.

Integrated lighting in the display cabinets is provided by barely visible luminaires mounted on comb type rails to subtly accentuate the exhibits.

The manufacturing array installed in the fourth floor depicts hat production: a glass, walk-in cube showing the technical production processes of hat manufacturing. Frameless light panels made by Designpanel that provide even lighting across areas were installed in the manufacturing array. These walls are made of ‘intelligent’ glass which can change from transparent to milky to create a room-high projection surface on the insides, on which a video shows how a hat is made.

The lighting interacts at regular intervals with the video production: when the lighting is dimmed, the focus is on the video. When the projection area becomes transparent again, the exhibits become the visual focus once more.

The Hat Tornado on the fifth floor represents the focal point of the exhibition and symbolizes the fashion context and export of hats throughout the world. Numerous white head-coverings spiraling up along a metal rod high into the room produce a striking effect which is amplified by cold and warm lights. To illuminate the Hat Tornado, ASC used PUNTO built-in lights made by Eigenart, power-LED miniature spotlights that are almost invisible yet produce a high output. Gallery CC spotlights were also fitted to three-phase busbars beneath the round podium to provide floor lighting.

Large-format photographs around the room reflect the fashion context and depict chronologically corresponding themes that are scenically arranged on the back of the photo-walls. The illuminated cases surrounding these large-scale graphical displays were fitted with rigid LED profile strips made by Richter Lighting Technologies. These in turn are equipped with warm and cold white LEDs so that the color temperature can be adapted to whatever is being exhibited. There are also numerous table display cabinets equipped with integrated Hera LED lighting components.

Questions? We’ll gladly assist.

  • Hutmuseum_1704_Slide_01.jpg

    German Lindenberg Hat Museum

    A journey into the world of hat fashion and through its history. ASC exhibition lighting illuminates large-scale photography, display cabinets, and exhibits.

  • Hutmuseum_0914_Slide_01.jpg

    German Lindenberg Hat Museum

    The Hat Tornado and its scintillating interplay between light and shadow provides artistic stimulus to the exhibition room.

  • Hutmuseum_1577_Slide_01.jpg

    German Lindenberg Hat Museum

    Especially presented artificial lighting emphasizes the exhibited pieces and heightens the experience factor. Lighting guides the observer’s sight, produces emphases in the room, and focuses on exhibits.

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