BMW Museum Media Walls

Part of Exhibition: BMW Museum



of an Exhibit

by Javier Pes

Published on May 28, 2009 , Modified on September 16, 2010

  • Description:

    Innovative use on a large (and expensive) scale of LED lights behind opaque glass at the new BMW Museum, Munich.

    Museums of transport often seemed designed so that visitors can admire the beauty of the engineering and absorb the technical data: rows of parked cars, motorbikes, buses trams and trains and their vital statistics. Some, however, attempt to go the extra mile by creating the illusion of movement around the inevitably stationary objects.

    The cars, motorbikes and body parts in the new BMW Museum, which opened in June 2008, are in mint condition, whatever their vintage. And there is plenty of technical minutiae about them: luxury cars, sportier models, motorbikes piled high, and the company’s original product, aircraft engines made during the first world war. There is also an uncanny sense that the museum’s largest space is in slow motion.

    Uwe Bruckner, the Stuggart-based designer, who collaborated with the electronic-media designers Art + Com, to create the effect compares it to sitting in a train in a station. If another train alongside moves, for a moment it feels as if your train is departing. “Because a museum is, more or less, a static system, you can only create a certain sort of movement in the head of [the visitors]. I often use the way we imagine more than we see as a method to create certain situations,” he says.

    The illusion of motion in the car museum is created by the car-related imagery floating across the luminous double height walls. There are millions of LED lights behind the opaque glass forming arty black and white close ups of a dash-board, a forest of trees or an abstract pattern. The intension wasn’t to create the impression of 0-60 mph acceleration in a few seconds: they float rather than zoom by. “We wanted to get closer to the myths and fascination of these objects. What they reflect about our desires, especially German desires? There is a saying, Germans like their cars more than their partners sometimes,” explains Bruckner.

    [Extract of a longer profile of the German designer, Uwe Bruckner, that appeared in Museum Practice magazine, Spring 2009, by Javier Pes]

Latest Comments (2)


by Richard Boothroyd - July 16, 2009

It appears to me that these are merely concepts for the museum. Has this been fabricated and installed?

"Mediatecture" spectacular!

by Dan Moalli - September 16, 2010

This museum contains one of my all-time favorite exhibits (yes, I do like things built by firms other than D&P!) Inside one of the galleries is a space, aptly titled:
“Kinetic Sculpture”. Inside are 714 (?) stainless steel spheres, suspended from (very thin) cables, which in turn are connected to computer-controlled motors. The cables quickly become invisible as the eye focuses on an elaborate ballet of motion and form created by the movement of the spheres. It’s the “space between” that’s fascinating, as complex shapes, outlines of autos and other abstracts are created, much in the same way that the B&W cars are done in the lobby: millions of white LEDS behind glass that’s nearly opaque, and BLACK. See:

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