Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, Zagreb, Croatia


The Nikola Tesla Technical Museum is a technology museum in the Croatian Capital city of Zagreb. Located in a busy and popular area of the city centre, the museum began life in 1954 as a celebration of science, combining education with visitor engagement. The museum houses and showcases scientific and technical appliances that have played a role in the country’s history, including aircraft, cars and machinery. The experience pre-dates some of the world’s most notable cultural projects, such as the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

One key exhibition is the demonstration cabinet which promotes the life and work of Nikola Tesla, the world-famous inventor and engineer. Tesla is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system.

The exhibition is enhanced with a lighting design concept that reflects his achievements. A dynamic blue light represents the famous Colorado coil effect. The effect is programmed to appear every hour, and lasts for around 15 seconds each time. This lighting design was created by architectural lighting design experts Skira.

Skira were also appointed to develop a lighting scheme for the museum’s façade and landscape lighting. To fulfil the requirements of the carefully created lighting design, Skira specified the lighting technology from creative and innovative lighting experts GVA Lighting. Offering excellent versatility with robust IP66 or IP67 rated housing, GVA Lighting’s STR9® Series delivered the perfect solution for the museum. This family of solutions is an all-encompassing range of high-power wall washing and wall grazing linear LED luminaires.

A completely concealed and integrated linear lighting system within the architecture of the building has been created by Skira using GVA Lighting’s STR9® Series. This ensures both ambience and practicality. Two independent rows of linear lights have been introduced, with two different colour temperatures – 3000K and 4000K – to meet the needs of the surfaces it illuminates. These are delivered by the Mono variant of the STR9® Series.

A combination of different lengths and RGBW variants have also been incorporated into the scheme.

The Technical Museum is classed as a site of cultural heritage by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, making it a protected building. With this in mind, the team at Skira were focused on ensuring the lighting solutions are unobtrusive and do not impact on the appearance of the museum.

To achieve this, many steps were taken. A custom metal gutter was mounted and painted in the façade colour, with luminaires from GVA Lighting attached to this. Landscape lighting is delivered through recessed floor lamps, while surface-mounted reflectors illuminate several exterior exhibits and trees. A small substation is bathed in blue light, which contributes to the overall lighting experience.

Dean Skira, Founder and Visionary Officer at Skira, said: “The Nikola Tesla Technical Museum is such an iconic cultural project, we were thrilled to design the lighting system. It was vital that the exterior lighting adds to the city nightscape and the experience of the museum’s architecture and does not detract from the exhibits and experiential aspects. GVA Lighting’s solutions deliver this perfectly, allowing for the precise blend of concealed lighting with the right lighting levels to ensure practicality.”

The architectural lighting is elegant and simple, and has ensured the museum looks attractive from the busy road it is located on. The way in which the lighting has been installed, as well as the integration of the solutions and dynamic features, further reinforces the celebration of technology that the museum is famed for.

Client: Technical Museum Nikola Tesla

Lighting Designer: Skira Architectural Lighting

Photo / Video Credits: Jana Jocif