The Wadden Sea Centre is the winner of the Nordic Lighting Design Award 2018

Photo: James Medcraft

Photo: James Medcraft

The winner of the Nordic Lighting Design Award 2018, The Wadden Sea Centre. From left: Nikolaj Birkelund, Fortheloveoflight and Johan Carlsson, JAC studios.  Photo: Petri Vuorio.

The winner of the Nordic Lighting Design Award 2018, The Wadden Sea Centre. From left: Nikolaj Birkelund, Fortheloveoflight and Johan Carlsson, JAC studios.

Photo: Petri Vuorio.

The Wadden Sea Centre, a visitor centre for the Wadden Sea UNESCO World Heritage Site, received the Nordic Lighting Design Award 2018 in a ceremony held in Helsinki on 12 September 2018.

Located in the southern part of Jutland, Denmark, the Wadden Sea Centre designed by Dorte Mandrup is a modern interpretation of the local building tradition with its thatched roofs and facades.

The centre’s exhibition “The Migratory Birds’ Wadden Sea” was created by JAC studios in collaboration with Jason Bruges Studio and No Parking Production with Fortheloveoflight as the lighting designer. The exhibition is a diverse and dynamic construct of authentic documentation, scenography, arts, crafts and bespoke light fixtures that in close relation to the built architecture creates a total spatial experience aiming for a balance between communication and aesthetics that is unique in its field.

 “The Wadden Sea Centre represents Nordic lighting design at its finest with the daylight and artificial light merging into a subtle yet immersive experience”, says Tapio Kallasjoki, chairman of the jury. 

Jury further states, “The project is complex and multilayered – strati, both visually and on meaning, yet subtle and calm. The tinted light is softly caressing the fragile ephemeral realms of birds. The hierarchy of the exhibition can clearly be seen through different layers of light. The soft daylight and artificial light are tuned into a harmony. The installation is realised by carefully designed lighting fixtures and rail system with modern control technologies which are even remotely monitored. The result is a holistic Nordic lighting design solution.”

“It is a great honour for the complete team behind the design of the Wadden Sea Centre to be awarded the Nordic Lighting Design Award. To us the award means an acknowledgement for the engaged and interdisciplinary process that is behind the completion of the project, a process where lighting design has been a part from the very beginning”, says exhibition architect Johan Carlsson from JAC studios. 

“To work with the lighting design for the Wadden Sea Centre has been a magical experience, and an opportunity to collaborate, excel and push the boundaries of lighting design. To receive this price is an honour and a token of our love for light”, says lighting designer Nikolaj Birkelund from Fortheloveoflight. 

The Nordic Lighting Design Awards 2018 took place in SES Auditorium Kino K-13 in Helsinki’s Katajanokka, where the ten national winners from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden presented their projects and competed for the award set to celebrate and promote Nordic lighting design. The event was organised by the Illuminating Engineering Society of Finland on behalf of the Nordic Light Committee.

About the award

Nordisk Lyspris or The Nordic Lighting Design Award was created by the Nordic Light Committee in the year 2000. The Nordic Light Committee consists of the following lighting organisations: Dansk Center for Lys in Denmark, Suomen Valoteknillinen Seura in Finland, Ljóstæknifélag Íslands in Iceland, Lyskultur in Norway and Belysningsbranschen in Sweden. The award is handed out biennially and the purpose is to highlight and celebrate the special characteristics of Nordic lighting design.

Jury members

Denmark: Rune Bugge Jensen
Finland: Tapio Kallasjoki
Iceland: Rósa Dögg Thorsteinsdóttir
Norway: Are Røysamb
Sweden: Lars Fredén

The jury members were selected by the lighting organisations in the participating countries.

Nominated projects

Biblo Tøyen Library, Oslo, Norway
Humana Nursing and Care Home, Gävle, Sweden
King K36 Office, Stockholm, Sweden
Lava Centre Exhibition, Hvolsvöllur, Iceland
The Lava Tunnel, Thorlakshofn, Iceland
Muurame Church, Muurame, Finland
Nørreport Station, Copenhagen, Denmark
Port of Helsinki’s West Terminal 2, Helsinki, Finland
Rånåsfoss Power Station, Rånåsfoss, Norway
The Wadden Sea Centre, Vester Vedsted, Denmark


Suomen Valoteknillinen Seura
Heikki Härkönen
heikki.harkonen (at)

Dansk Center for Lys
Anne Bay
ab (at)

For more information

Press release and photos