Lighting controls and flexibility sets the scene and transform the space.

The lighting installation at Røverstaden is automated for everyday use, but can be controlled directly from the light console at near the concert venue and used as an extension of the stage lighting.

Client : Røverstaden, Oslo Konserthus

Interior Architect : Fatimah N Mahdi, Hannah Nordh

Architect : Spacegroup

Electrical contractor : Connect Electro

Carpenters : Grundfeldt & Jarnvig

Partners : Kyrre Heldal Karlsen, Rebel Light

Photographer : Light Bureau

Completion Year : 2018

After cultural venue Club7 closed its doors at Munkedamsveien 15 in 1985, Oslo had lost a cult status destination for experimental art, music, theatre and dance – the breadth of cultural offerings was reduced.

Expectations were high when Oslo Concerthouse announced that they were working with several high profile tenants and well renown architects Spacegroup on the development of Røverstaden, a new house of culture in Vika at the same address as legendary Club7. The new venue would fill all three floors of the building with a wide range of offerings including a new concert venue, three bars, an art gallery, a new restaurant and office space for creatives and startups.


Light Bureau partnered with distributor Rebel Light and lighting designer Kyrre Heldal Karlsen on the project and together developed and delivered an ambitious lighting design for the venue centred around the sculptural and dynamic lighting installation nicknamed ‘Stim’, the Norwegian word for when fish are schooling, a continuous motion reacting to sound and the use of the building.

The lighting installation stretches across the three floors of the space with varying density and intensity of light with the light subtly moving and pulsing from entrance to entrance but always from or towards the heart of the building, the concert venue in the basement. The lighting installation is automated for everyday use, but can be controlled directly from the light console at near the concert venue and used as an extension of the stage lighting, or programmed to suit private events taking place in the building.

Our approach to the challange was to strategically design the space with light, lighting controls, flexibility and scene setting in mind from the very beginning.

The architectural lighting of the interiors was designed to accommodate both the daytime use of the building used for conferences, as an office, cafe and gallery space, requiring a widely different atmosphere than the evening use for concerts, restaurant and bar and private events. Our approach to the challenge was to strategically design the space with light, lighting controls, flexibility and scene setting in mind from the very beginning. The core walls of the building were illuminated in order to visually explain the volume of the space and give a soft vertical base level of light to each floor. Varying the intensity of light on the core walls was an effective way of creating the feeling of a bright, open space during daytime to greater contrast and a more intimate space in the evening.

Knowing that the vertical light from the core wall would create a feeling of brightness during the day, the light towards tables, floor and objects within the space could be much more focused and tuned towards the evening scene. LED-spotlights with a narrow beam optic, honeycomb louvres and good glare control was used as accent sources. All of these with dim to warm sources so that the atmosphere in the evening is much warmer than the active daytime scenes.

Lighting is integrated within the three bars. Light sources and the placement of these were carefully chosen to ensure that not only the were displayed well, but that the light would also render the skin of the bartenders in a flattering way and avoid causing harsh shadows. Each bar is designed with a different character. Lighting to the bar closest to the stage can, similarly to the ‘Stim’ lighting installation, be controlled as part of the stage lighting.

Røverstaden is an ambitious project and has become an important cultural venue in Oslo that expands the breadth of culture available in the city for people across all age groups.


Arve Olsen

Design Director, UK