Nearly every significant building of interest in Vienna is lit from the outside by spotlights to create an imposing nocturnal view. There is one notable exception.
Thanks to the MAKlite installation, the MAK museum is lit impressively from the inside.
- Ever-changing colour display in the windows of the museum
- Created by US artist, James Turrell
- Best seen (obviously) when the sun goes down
- See also: Vienna museums
The light installation
Vienna is a city of white light. The colour dominates the Christmas displays and, at night, illuminates such historical wonders as the National Library:
But wander along the Stubenring after dusk and one building is sure to catch your eye. The windows of the MAK (an applied arts museum with a focus on design, architecture and contemporary art) shine brightly in pale green. Or perhaps blue. Or red. or orange.
The light display is the work of LA-born James Turrell, a 2013 recipient of a National Medal of Arts.
Turrell’s MAKlite installation first saw the light of day (see what I did there?) in 2004, though the genesis of the concept dates back to a 1998 exhibition (“The other horizon”) at the MAK dedicated to this world-renowned Light and Space artist.
The installation reopened in November 2018 after extensive modernisation.
The LED technology that provides such intensive, uniform light from within the building stems from Targetti, an Italian architectural light company whose work brightens such places as the Notre-Dame cathedral, the Uffizi gallery and the State Opera House in Vienna.
Turrell’s work with light spans the globe, with installations across the USA, Europe and as far afield as Japan, Mexico, Israel, and China. Learn more about his work here.
How to get to MAKlite
There’s a subway station opposite (“Stubentor” on the U3 line), and you can reach the same stop using the 2 tram line and bus lines 3A and 74A.
Address: Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst / Gegenwartskunst, Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna | Website