Efficiency meets beauty
“Creating an ideal stage for every conceivable event” – that was the aim of Marte.Marte Architects from Vorarlberg in Austria, when they set about designing the new halls for Messe Dornbirn. The result is a monolithic edifice with elliptical entrances that open out on the free spaces. “Our choice of an elliptical shape is the product of aesthetics considerations,” explains Stefan Marte from Marte.Marte Architects. The circular shape they initially favored would have created too large a footprint. The conical section in its intense crimson red, the “trade-fair red” of Messe Dornbirn, not only provides the entrances with the desired roof cover but also creates a zestful contrast to the rectangular building’s black exterior. On closer inspection this turns out to be an industrial product that has undergone an elegant makeover, namely corrugated steel sheeting (for EUR 60 a square meter) with a dark black coating. “Thanks to the scale the corrugated metal has the feel of a refined pinstripe suit and gains a truly sculptural character,” says Stefan Marte.
Special focus on wooden beams
Since the new halls opened in July 2017 the eye-catching elliptical shape has rapidly been integrated into the exhibitor center’s communications effort: “Although our logo is based on a pear, the ellipsis has already become an emblematic element of our corporate identity,” comments Stefan Marte. The interior of the halls is also impressive: In Halls 9 and 11 the “black box” predominates with ceilings and walls largely in black; the floor eschews the visual limelight and boasts neutral shades of gray. “Be it simple market stalls, folklore backdrops, or concerts everything in these halls now makes a greater splash,” suggests Stefan Marte. Thanks to correspondingly flexible lighting the attention is placed squarely on the exhibitors themselves. Given the immense size of the spaces – up to 4,800 square meters – Marte.Marte worked with Zumtobel to develop a customized solution. The result, “Tecton Balanced White” which is a lighting strip system that enables the color temperature and light mood to be adapted to suit the event, be it an exhibition, concert, or some other occasion. All the functions, such as power supply, controls and connection to the emergency lighting system, are integrated into the mounting track. “It is wonderful for us that we were able to craft a suitable solution in collaboration with Zumtobel rather than being limited to choosing something off-the-peg from a catalog,” says Stefan Marte. Another special feature is the load-bearing structure of the large halls, which is made up completely of wood, with steel or concrete only providing supplementary support. The ceiling is composed of laminated timber beams each up to 66 meters long and five meters high. “We mastered the challenge of creating such a support-free system by placing the trussed girder close together using a 1.80-meter grid,” explains the architect. As a result, the ceiling can easily take heavy loads.
An architect's dream come true
In Halls 10 and 12 the striking red color of the elliptical entrances blends seamlessly with the more formal interior to create a festive setting. As a contrast to the linear thrust of the Tecton luminaires, for the smaller halls and red foyers the choice was Zumtobel’s “Panos infinity”: These round, LED recessed downlights emit light similar to daylight and were produced in special customized red and black tones. Mounted on a smaller grid footprint, they provide even lighting and lend spaces additional structure and breadth. In the arcade arches in Foyer 12 the luminaires are recess mounted flush into the plaster cast ceiling. “It has always been a dream of ours as architects to reduce the luminaire to a minimum and that makes Panos infinity a brilliant choice,” says Stefan Marte. Another reason that prompted marte.marte to choose this Zumtobel product is the fact that it boasts up to 100 lumens per Watt, making it twice as efficient as conventional downlights: “With such large halls you always have to consider economies of scale and the trade fair needs to deploy trailblazing technologies if it is to remain competitive,” summarizes Stefan Marte.