Science of light

Zumtobel illuminates the world of knowledge and experience of the Experimenta Science Center in Heilbronn.

Do you know what to take into consideration when building a dam wall? How to suspend gravitational forces, or how a drop of water falls? Answers to these questions can be found at the Experimenta Science Center in Heilbronn, located on the banks of the River Neckar. In order to facilitate the journey of discovery through the sciences, Sauerbruch Hutton Architekten have added a dynamic new building to the existing structure: Multi-story blocks in irregular pentagon shapes have been stacked and enveloped by a facade divided into triangles. Inside, the atrium rises up to the fifth floor in a spiral shape, linking the different topic areas. A great deal of daylight, slanted ceilings, and changing didactic exhibits set a very high standard for the lighting solutions to be implemented. Maierlighting in collaboration with Zumtobel therefore set out to develop special luminaires that are able to flexibly adapt to changing situations in the space. “Zumtobel is known for developing high quality solutions,” says light planner Jens Maier.

The office light “Light Fields Evolution” with its patented micro-pyramid-look form the basis to the special luminaire in terms of lighting technology. Thanks to a diffusor layer, the light is glare free and offers a distribution of light that is pleasant to the eye even at steeper beam angles. The special luminaire solution allows for a switch between accent and general lighting systems, which were built into the exposed technical ceiling. Contrasts, lateral light and shadows may be planned precisely using the made-to-measure system. “What the product is able to perform in the exhibition worlds is truly impressive. It is the basis to our work,” explained Jens Maier. In the theme worlds of the exhibition, further luminaires from Zumtobel’s catalogue have been employed according to the lighting tasks in question. The spot series “Vivo” and “Arcos” stage the exhibits, with the reduced LED spot systems helping provide further accents. “Supersystem II” meanwhile provides a modular construction kit of efficient LED technology: Both accent lights, as well as wall washers and light strips may be slotted into the basic lighting system’s slim track profile. The uniform light band “Slotlight infinity” references the building’s geometry and is employed as a Z-shaped version suspended from the ceiling in the interactive experimentation rooms of the show. The lounge area on the ground floor features “Ondaria” alongside the orchestra of lights: With its round shapes and pleasant lighting color, the surface luminaire creates a pleasant atmosphere and invites visitors to take a break after absorbing the diverse input of the exhibition rooms. In the evening, the observatory on the roof at Experimenta offers a different spectacle of light, with a view of the starry night sky. (am)