An intelligent, resource-saving combination of facade lighting meets functional and aesthetic requirements, creates new urban spaces and lends a unique quality to architecture at night. Prince-Elector Carl Theodor acknowledged the merits of fac ade lighting when Duesseldorf drew up a lighting master plan to mark his visit to the town in 1742. Designers and investors recognised the huge potential of lighting designers long ago and use it as a tool for improving the quality of life and the image of a town. Light sets houses and fac ades at centre- stage, shows historical buildings and modern architecture off to full effect, emphasises natural spatial structures and brings squares, parks and green open spaces to life.Society is in a state of change and many people are turning night into day.
They want to carry on having fun late into the evening: they seek out entertainment and information and welcome surprises. Even so, safety and orientation must be ensured despite the darkness. Facade lighting shapes the image of a townscape, attracts attention and lures in blarge numbers of tourists. This boosts revenues and enhances prestige. It also gives investors an economic incentive to gentrify real estate and upgrade property usage, thus making it economically more attractive. Facade lighting creates added cultural value.
Towns and municipalities use many activities to promote tourism, make a business location attractive or establish a residential district. Illuminating facades at night is a good way of improving the attractiveness of a public space. More and more people are spending their evening hours in towns and squares. They are looking for excitement, and communication plays a pivotal role. Illuminated architecture shapes a townscape and gives it personality. A pretty scene is not only a popular choice for postcards, it also has concrete, positive effects on the travel behaviour of tourists and influences commercial enterprises relocation decisions: an integral approach to using lighting technology for centre-stage settings and accent lighting and a concept which, besides historic buildings ,also includes shopping centres, firms and public areas produce a harmonious townscape. Also a master plan provides the starting point for any planning activity. It acts as a guideline for lighting designers, architects, urban planners, investors, city marketing and retailers. It takes into account all stakeholders and the available financing and starts with a precise analysis of the character of a town or city. The aim is to take into account important urban features, distinctive features of buildings, historically important areas as well as environmental conditions and future development plans. Professional facade lighting can potentially become a landmark and a point of interest for reporters and photographers. This encourages tourism – and brings benefits to the economy and communities. More efficient utilisation of amenities and a growing stream of visitors transform the peripheral areas of a town into an attractive business location.
Newly arrived firms upgrade buildings and attract employees.Lighting master plans lay the foundation for a harmonious townscape. Pleasant lighting promotes a sense of identity, puts people at ease and encourages them to stay for a while. Incomers soon feel at home and quickly build a relationship with their new environment. A place soon becomes an attractive place to live, an attractive holiday destination and an attractive business location.
“Only a few lighting designers exploit the possibility of providing aesthetically elegant, resource-saving lighting that costs relatively little. Poorly planned facade lighting is becoming an increasingly serious problem that affects the aesthetic appearance of nocturnal landscapes. Large portions of the deployed light often miss the facade in question and the luminance levels used are often considerably higher than necessary.”
There are two aspects to facade lighting: it enhances the cultural value and attractiveness of a town – but it consumes energy and tends to produce unnecessary night-time brightness. Intelligent lighting solutions are needed in order to reconcile these conflicting effects. Designers are confronted with major challenges because poor designs can have a serious impact on the environment and nature: the growth of plants may be altered, biodiversity suffers, astronomical observations become problematic and human sleep-wake rhythms can be disrupted. When implementing a lighting concept, it is therefore advisable to regard safety aspects as a top priority. Good energy efficiency is another distinctive characteristic of professional lighting concepts. Vertical facade lighting gets noticed from a far far distance making it easier for passers-by to get their bearings and making them feel more secure. LED luminaires consume little energy and are mounted in the facade or in the immediate vicinity of the surface that is to be illuminated. Directing light in a targeted manner minimises stray light Intelligent lighting control achieves maximum effect with minimum energy consumption. Fac ade lighting can be used in a variety of ways. Among other things, it is a modern tool that can be used to make a townscape or company building more appealing. This has to be balanced against the ambitious energy-saving targets adopted by municipalities and companies. Intelligent lighting solutions provide a way out of this dichotomy.
LED lighting built into a fac ade or mounted close to it needs relatively little energy to generate the required luminance levels. LED lighting is unobtrusive and energy-efficient. LED luminaires fitted in windows, reveals consume less energy at night than a small domestic appliance. Light is directed onto the surfaces that are to be illuminated in a targeted manner by optics and shutters. This prevents stray light and the associated light pollution. Each light source is dimmable And controllable. This makes it possible to set individual switch-on times and intensities.
Architectural lighting solutions place emphasis on the architecture, materials and the lighting effect sought after by the architect and building owner. Architecture is illuminated without altering the character of a building. Individual façade elements are accentuated and the natural structures of the façade are emphasised. Bright, vertical surfaces produce a greater sense of security and assist orientation. An appealing townscape attracts tourists and investors like a magnet. The construction style and materials of a building are the crucial design elements, regardless whether it is a historical or modern building. If lighting deals sensitively with architecture, the character of a façade remains the same, day or night. Architectural lighting employs a wide variety of methods. Uniform, wide-area illumination of a facade reveals its natural shapes and surface structures, for instance, while the building’s appearance is preserved. The architecture speaks for itself. Using white light to pick out individual columns, ornaments or projections in the darkness is another very popular option. Our environment is shaped by buildings. It is shaped by sweeping, monotonous fac ades just as much as by architecturally inspiring and historically important facades.
Architecture is set centre-stage by selectively illuminating individual details, shapes and structures or by harnessing uniform, wide-area lighting. Special attention is paid to entrances, columns or individual parts of a building. Proper lighting adds symbolic value to ornaments and historic buildings and reveals their uniqueness. With architectural centre-stage settings, the construction style and the lighting form a single coherent entity. The materials and colours of a fa c ade are therefore the decisive criteria when it comes to choosing a light source and, especially, a light colour. If there is any hint of architectural integrity being adulterated, the appearance of a building will be perceived as discordant in a day versus night comparison or in comparison with the building’s urban setting. Daylight, with its light and shade, provides a three-dimensional view of every building and makes structures visible. Different floors, functions, entrance and pathways are identifiable. Materials and colours are perceived naturally and true to life.
Different rules apply at night. If characteristics, contours or structures can be identified, this creates an impression of three dimensionality. Artificial lighting cannot replace daylight but it does offer customisable design possibilities. A professional lighting concept lends a building special flair. Taking the environment of a building into account as a design element in its own right results in a high degree of naturalness. The challenge is to use various luminaires, directions of light and light colours to structure a building or a street and make functional relationships apparent. Buildings that have special functions such as restaurants or meeting points call for a special lighting solution. An integral lighting concept also includes façades that have their own lighting design.
Emotional lighting involves transforming architecture or using light to shape it rather than simply embellishing it. Light patterns, structures and colours inject fresh character into plain, unpretentious architecture at night. Neutral objectivity is replaced by an emotionally perceived experience. Creative lighting elements invite the onlooker to contemplate and linger and provide an interestingly varied atmosphere.
Communicative lighting solutions convey information that goes beyond the mere appearance of a fac ade. They provide boundless scope for presenting brands, values and messages: media content such as text, images and animations can be projected onto the controllable LED pixels on the fa c ade. Stage settings that use corporate colours create a unique brand identity. Lighting concepts like this exploit the full potential of a society that lives at an increasingly fast pace. They enable companies, brands and towns to communicate with their environment even at night.