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Lumen Museum: art meets nature

Amid the mountains of Plan de Corones in the North of Italy, there is one of the most unique and extraordinary museums of the world: Lumen Museum. At 2275 meters of height, the architectural structure has been designed in total harmony with the surrounding alpine landscape, with four different floors showcasing the history of mountain photography. Designed by architect Gerhard Mahlknecht, the museum was opened in 2018 and is progressively becoming an iconic example of nature to art cross-contamination.

Lumen Museum | © Paolo Riolzi

A particularly striking and evocative dimension of art is when it is set in a wild and uncontaminated context, simulating a return to its origins. As custodians of art around the world, there are many museums that have carved out a living space just a few kilometers from the city, have sprung up like lotus flowers on exotic islands, or like crescent blooms on the highest peaks. There is a great choice of courage in these buildings, designed to highlight a millenary territory, choosing it as a home and entering into complete symbiosis with it, refreshing that everlasting and fruitful link between art and nature.

A great example of this relationship can be found in Trentino-Alto Adige, a region in the North of Italy. Until 1986, the old mountain station of the Plan de Corones cable car stood here at an altitude of 2,275 meters. From this old structure a stunning recovery project was born in 2018, which has brought to light a new institution, the Lumen Museum, dedicated to mountain photography. As a fascinating consequence of this location choice, the museum can either be reached by taking the cable car from the valley or directly by skiing from above.

Kronplatz 1984 - 2021

Mahlknecht's architectural project is deliberately essential and neutral in its colors, tones and materials. The superb panorama of the Dolomites becomes a shaping element of its interior spaces and its openings towards the outside. Contrary to the design practice of museum with neutral and closed spaces, which are more suitable for displaying collections, Lumen was created as a space open to the landscape, which becomes a living part of the collections displayed. The four-floor building allows visitors to lose themselves among the peaks, to breathe in the atmosphere of the mountains and to observe their majesty through large glass walls and large windows.

On the inside, Lumen Museum is entirely dedicated to mountain photography, a successful balance between historical shots and digital innovation, with interesting temporary exhibitions and evocative displays. From the Wunderkammer, featuring real technical artefacts from the 1800s, to the Wall of Fame, dedicated to the pioneers of mountain photography, and to Dia Horama, the area that presents photographic sequences of the museum's most important photographers. The museum also hosts a number of temporary and permanent exhibitions such as Messner meets Messner by Durst, which offers multimedia installations and virtual reality among shots, quotes and speeches by the father of mountaineering, Reinhold Messner.

As if all this wasn't enough, the Lumen also houses the AlpiNN restaurant, where you can let three-Michelin-starred chef Norbert Niederkolfer take you to the highest heights of culinary pleasure with typical South Tyrolean products while enjoying a breathtaking view of the Dolomites.

If this article and these photos didn't convince you to add Lumen Museum to your travel list, we're pretty sure nothing will.

Also, we have an incredible project featuring the Lumen Museum lined up for you, so make sure to stay tuned on the Recall and Lumen Museum platforms!

Trust us, you'll regret missing this one.

Recall Team


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