Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

8th August, 2022

Pendant lamps hang from a metal bar, spotlighting a series of Bauhaus-era chairs against a stark black backdrop. Across 100 years of design history, a highly technical contemporary lighting system communes with Bauhaus-era chairs.

Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

This is a new exhibition designed by Stefan Diez, which uses his endlessly adaptable Plusminus lighting system for Vibia to illuminate and spotlight the chairs of Bauhaus designer Erich Dieckmann (1896-1944): a figure whose work is admired amongst designers, but little known among a wider public. Titled Chairs: Dieckmann! The forgotten Bauhäusler Erich Dieckmann, this exhibition of Dieckmann’s work was first displayed at the Saxony-Anhalt Art Foundation in Halle, Germany, before moving on to the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin.

Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces
Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

Designing an exhibition that could suit the distinct dimensions of the two venues provided a particular challenge for Diez’s studio. The ceiling heights of the Saxony-Anhalt Art Foundation and the Kunstgewerbemuseum differ by 5m in places, while both institutions requested that the exhibitions not make any structural alterations to the exhibitions rooms. To make matters even more complex, the pieces on display are delicate objects, including Dieckmann’s first ever chair (which was woven from rushes in 1923). As such, the exhibition required precisely controlled lighting conditions so as not to damage this vital part of design history.

Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

It was a puzzle ideally suited to demonstrating the wide-ranging capabilities of Plusminus, a system that can be quickly and easily installed in any space, and whose conductive belt allows it to adapt to meet any demand. For both iterations of the exhibition, the lighting display required just a single metal bar, over which this ribbon loops down in undulating curves, allowing black pendant lamps to be clipped on wherever needed. “The Plusminus system was able to be completely independent from the architecture of the room,” explains Arthur Desmet, a designer with Diez Office.

Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

© Monika Höfler

Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

© Monika Höfler

“We were able to reuse the same pieces of the lighting system for each space, while compensating for the different ceiling heights.”

Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces
Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

Each exhibit within the show sits within simple black cardboard booths that have been tailored to fit their respective exhibition spaces, while a black paper backdrop unfurls behind each of Dieckmann’s objects: framing them like a photo studio. These booths are part of Wagner Living’s D2 programme, a flexible office system developed in collaboration with Diez.

Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

The all-back displays for the exhibition’s installation were chosen to provide a uniform, focused environment in which the detail of Dieckmann’s work could be shown to its best advantage. “It was a deliberate choice to use black Plusminus pendants so they almost disappear up close,” says Desmet. “The black cardboard absorbs all of the light, creating a clean backdrop for Dieckmann’s objects. Then there is a second layer to the exhibition where you can step back, observe the scene and start to see that the lights are in a dialogue.”

Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces
Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

As for tempering each light to suit the needs of the spotlighted objects, the Plusminus shines here too. Each lamp can be individually controlled by an app and pre-set to the desired luminosity. The museum operators can simply switch the display off each night, then turn it on again the next morning with each lamp still set to it’s pre-selected brightness.

Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces
Vibia The Edit - Plusminus solves the puzzle of two spaces

It’s an attention to simplicity and flexibility that runs throughout this travelling display, and which is embodied within Diez’s design for Plusminus. “The great thing is that Plusminus is very simple to install,” says Desmet.

“All the complexity, all the specificity that the system requires was solved by Vibia. It’s a plug and play system.”

Credits:
– Photography: Fabian Frinzel Photography

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