Petersen Automotive Museum

The use of Lumenfacades and Lumenbeams behind an intricate architectural surface to create smooth, mysterious movement, like the moving insides of a car engine. The adaptability and wide range of usages for these luminaires are put to the test, Hollywood style.

The car has been the backbone of North American society for the better part of a century. Its legendary cultural status is celebrated in The Petersen Auto Museum, located in Los Angeles, California. The museum, housed in a four-story, converted department store, is largely devoid of windows. The building's facade is comprised of numerous long, stainless steel ribbons suspended from structural outriggers, and enswathe the building. 

To assist with illuminating the complex metallic surface and its curved edges, House and Robertson Architects contacted Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design. "The concept was to create smooth, mysterious movement behind the ribbons, reminiscent of aerodynamics testing, like the moving insides of a car engine, or the red brake disc or caliper behind a spinning wheel," explained Clifton Manahan, an associate with Horton Lees Brogden.  

The previous lighting installation had minimal building uplighting from inground lights, many of which regularly failed, as well as a surround of retrofitted, obtrusive floodlights.

Two major elements were the center of attention in the new lighting project: the red core of the building, and the silver ribbons. Horton Lees Brogden wanted to illuminate the core as evenly as possible, from a very close distance, and bathe the back of the metallic ribbons in light to accentuate the curves of the facade. To achieve their concept, they chose to use Lumenbeam and Lumenfacade RGBW Color Changing LED Luminaires.

"There are some areas that only allow a small gap between the ribbons and the building, so we needed a good grazing optic," Manahan stated while explaining the challenges of the project. The base of the building is a public sidewalk. This required the use of a durable, linear inground fixture capable of delivering light that uniformly blends with the output of the grazing fixtures and rooftop floodlights used to illuminate the metal ribbons.

"Lumenpulse provided matching RGBW linear grazing, linear ingrounds, and floodlights to support a cohesive lighting concept all around," Manahan said. "The quality optics, durability, and consistency, make the entire building façade work together seamlessly."

"Everyone seems very excited by it," Manahan explained of the finished project. "The typical soft red look provides a strong signature look, while the dynamic scenes with other colors add variety and movement to the building for special events."

In the United States, the automobile is often associated with a sense of freedom and personal expression. With the Petersen Automotive Museum's recent lighting revitalization, it's a befitting setting for such a living legend.


Lumenbeam RGBW, 60º wide flood with snoot
Lumenfacade Inground Color-Changing, 2', 60º x 60º
Lumenfacade Inground Color-Changing, 2', 10º x 10º
Lumenfacade Color-Changing, 4', 10º x 10º

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
Market: Sports + Entertainment, Urban, Arts + Culture
Lighting Design: HLB Lighting Design
Design Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox
Architect: House and Robertson Architects
Photographer: Raimund Koch

The quality optics, durability and consistency of the Lumenpulse luminaires make the entire building façade work together seamlessly.

Clifton Manahan
Horton Lees Brogden