In Bern, Soltis 86 is protecting the paintings of Paul Klee

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Project data

• Installer: Storama
• Facade specialist: Juchschmid Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Paris and ARB Arbeitsgruppe, Bern
• Design department: Ove Arup & Partners, B+S Engineers


  • Serge Ferrari composite screens:
    > Soltis 86
    > Screens surface: 2,700 m2
    Exterior blinds:
    > 42 vertical blinds (3.5 m high)
    > 63 overhanging blinds (variable heights, from 2.5 m to 8 ml)
    > 51 vertical blinds (from 2 m to 9 ml)

  • Architects Renzo Piano chose Soltis 86 screens for the facades of a unique building that has already received more than 100,000 visitors since it opened three months ago. This choice was imposed by the desire to preserve fragile paintings from time and the sun.

    In Bern, the Zentrum Paul Klee (Paul Klee Center) consists of three artificial hills. The central hill is home to the Bern painter’s works, the North hill contains a multi-purpose hall, an auditorium and a children’s museum, while in the South is a research center. With some 4,000 works the Zentrum Paul Klee houses the world’s biggest collection of paintings, water-colours and drawings representing each of Paul Klee’s creative periods. The guiding mission of the Center is to scientifically display the artistic, pedago-gical and theoretical works of Paul Klee, with understandable presentations for visitors. But looking beyond the splendor of the collections and the originality of the project, the Bern event was also architectural, with a unique creation by architect Renzo Piano who rose to the challenge of “creating a space that reflects naturalness — something Mother Nature herself could have created, but didn’t”. The Soltis 86 role in this event was significant, especially in the protection of very exposed works… “we had to be part of an aesthetic project while at the same time helping to combat direct glare”.

    Atmosphere and transparency

    Renzo Piano’s wish was therefore to create a floating atmosphere of light and transpa-rency. But total mastery of lighting levels was also required — especially in the exhi-bition areas — to avoid jeopardizing the quality and lifespan of highly light-sensitive works of art (see box). This stipulation — together with the unusual geometry of the buildings where 150-meter-long glazed surfaces soar at their highest points to 19 meters — gives an idea of the importance of the choice of fabrics and the challenge of installing them.

    A light, stable luminous filter

    This is why, to avoid direct noonday light, the museum is lighted via the west facade and fitted with broad Soltis screens that filter and soften the light. The challenge lay also in the height of the fabrics that required specific qualities, “Other screens were initially considered but the facade specialist guided us toward Soltis for its dimensional stability qualities. Soltis had the best lightness to stability to light filter ratio…” explains Morten Petersen, the architect in charged of the project. Technical and aesthetic blending If we add to these technical qualities the presence in our range of shades of twin aluminum and grey-beige that specifically meet the wishes of the famous Italian architect, it’s easy to understand why the Paul Klee museum has confirmed the reputation of the Soltis range in the eyes of architects, design departments and installers around the world.

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