National Library of Sweden_Light Bureau

Award winning lighting design at the National Library of Sweden.

National Library of Sweden

The National Library of Sweden is a premise for research, studying and reading, open for students and professionals, with a large collection of books and publications.

The main building at the National Library was built in 1877. Its underground levels, the “KB Annex”, were built in the late 1990s and renovated in 2012-2013. The Annex consists of three levels with a sole skylight to let in daylight below ground.

Light Bureau designed the lighting design concept for the Annex, the new Café and wardrobe area in the main building, creating a unique solution where light and materials beautifully blend into the space.


The quality, the direction, the rhythm and the colour of daylight will always be contextual. Therefore, we made a daylight analysis, calculating the daylight factor from the sole skylight at all three levels, in order to have specifications of the daylight situation and the gloomy areas, which would need electric lighting. E.g. areas with DF below < 2% were considered gloomy and needed electric lighting most of the time. The daylight analysis proved to be a crucial tool for the electric light planning, which supported our design solutions throughout the project.  

The Conceptual Design

The overall concept balances the strongly daylit areas and the dark areas of the building. Thus, in order to maximize the feeling of daylight in the building we combined electric light and daylight, controlled by a smart control system, and highlighted the vertical surfaces. The illumination of the vertical surfaces decreases the high contrast between the skylight and the non-daylit areas, inviting people to use the space in its entirety. Moreover, the electric lighting is seamlessly integrated into the architecture and designed to adapt to different user needs and variations of daylight quality throughout the day and seasonal changes.

Control System

The control system (DALI-system), sensors and user interfaces were carefully designed in collaboration with the users and other consultants involved in the project. This created an intelligent system, which automatically balances the electric lighting and the constantly changing daylight conditions, whilst retaining a flexible but user-friendly interface. Through close collaboration with the architects and electrical engineers, we have succeeded in creating a unique and user-friendly solution for operation and maintenance.

Swedish Lighting Award 2014

In September 2014, The Annex was awarded the Swedish Lighting Award. The jury’s motivation mentions the interaction between daylight, electric lighting and the bold choice of colours as the reasons behind their choice. In addition, the jury was impressed by the project team’s ability to transform a dim, colourless and mundane space into a light, inspiring place for study in a way that shows a great depth of knowledge and innovation skills specific to the lighting industry.

National Library of Sweden

National Library of Sweden

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