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Gedee Car Museum

GD Naidu Charities are the proud owners of the newly opened Gedee Car Museum in Coimbatore, which is touted as one of its kind in India with some of the exhibited cars not to be seen anywhere else in the country. Every significant development in the automobile industry along with a lot of wheels from all over the world is on display. It is a tribute to well-known scientist, inventor, educationalist and philanthropist Gopalswamy Doraiswamy Naidu a.k.a. GD Naidu (1893–1974), also referred to as the Edison of India. It was his dream to open a museum for displaying his private collection of automobiles, which has now been fulfilled by his son GD Gopal Naidu, the Managing Trustee of GD Naidu Charities.

The museum in fact is an expansive 20,000 sq ft basement parking lot with a layout that consists of a curving driveway leading up to the main hall. The driveway consists of posters depicting the evolution of automobiles with an Audio-Visual (AV) room at the end for theme-based shows. The main hall consists of five alternating bays of gallery spacefor visitor movement, and display space for cars, accessories and their associated documentation in the form of posters. The cars in the main hall are arranged chronologically: from a replica of the first automobile in the world to modern racing cars. Each car is provided with dedicated posters for explaining its evolution with respect to the automobile industry as a whole.During the initial stages of the project the display space was to be utilised for exhibiting only 20 to 25 cars. However, during the course of the project this collection grew to around 70 cars. Architecturally, the raw industrial look of a basement garage has been maintained throughout the museum.

With daylight being ruled out as a source of light due to inaccessibility, track lighting seemed the ideal solution for its flexibility and raw industrial appeal. The scope was further narrowed down to track lighting using SSL technology owing to the owners’ keen drive towards energy-efficiency. Moreover, SSL could only provide the appropriate optical control required for creating visual drama. The initial brief for lighting was to provide a visual hierarchy based on the historical significance of these cars. Cars responsible for either a path-breaking paradigm shift in automobile history or any other historical event of significance were to be treated as ‘highlight’ cars with special effects. Therefore, the overall lighting strategy is based on both spatial requirements in terms of gallery and display lighting, as well as visual hierarchy in terms of special-effect lighting.

Considerable amount of research went into the lighting design process, which spanned over two years. The choice of colour temperature is based on the pigment colour of the posters or cars’ paint. For example, warm-toned pigments such as red, brown or gold are washed in 2700K or 3000K, while cool-toned pigments such as blue or silver are washed in 4000K. However, the challenge of highlighting neutral-toned pigments such as black or white is met by using their time period as a basis. For example, 2700K or 3000K are used for cars from an older time period, while 4000K is used for cars from a more recent time period.

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4000K Prolicht C.S.I 10.3W surface-mounted cylindrical downlights with spot optic are used in the gallery space for appropriate general illumination to facilitate visitor movement. Darkness being pivotal for creating a sense of drama and mystery in a museum environment, the lighting level for the gallery is deliberately kept low. Additionally, low light-levels cause minimal light spill and non-interference with the display lighting.

3000K Abby Bro 10W track spotlights with flood optics are used for displaying the posters. A combination of ERCO Opton 12W spotlights with interchangeable spot, flood and oval-flood optics, and Prolicht Nitro 10.3W spotlights with flood optics are used for appropriately accentuating the cars. The lighting typologies applied for each car is dependent upon their size: either a spot or a flood optic for small-sized cars; a combination of spot and flood for medium-sized cars; oval-flood optics along with spot and flood optics for large-sized cars. ERCO Pollux 2W track spotlight with narrow-spot optics is used for any additional accentuation of certain key elements such as logos or insignia.

Special-effect lighting for the highlight cars is done by first providing a general wash using flood or oval-flood optics. Then its special features bearing a certain historical significance such as bumpers, headlights, hood, seats or wheels are accentuated using spot or narrow-spot optics. A combination of 2700K, 3000K and 4000K is used instead of a single colour temperature based on pigment colours. ERCO Pollux 6W framing projectors are used to highlight important information depicted on the posters of these highlighted cars.

Lighting provides an all together new dimension towards experiencing these cars. The use of SSL technology has resulted in an LPD of only 0.15W/ft2, which is a new benchmark in museum lighting.

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