Atelier of Light

  • BVB Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund
May 30, 2024

Thorn's winning team

Did you know that we have a unique organisation within the Zumtobel Group called the ‘Atelier of Light’?

Formed over 10 years ago, the interdisciplinary team is made up of specialists who support architectural projects, creating a link between the Group’s lighting brands Thorn and Zumtobel and creative thought and opinion leaders in worldwide architectural design.

Over the years, the Atelier of Light (AoL) has worked on impressive projects including the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, the Allianz Arena in Germany, the Albright Knox Gallery in the USA and the Living Observatory in Korea. These projects are achieved by working in collaboration with a network of esteemed partners including Buro Happold, Snohetta, Zaha Hadid Architects and David Chipperfield Architects.

But what does that mean in practice?

This skilled team of 25 individuals work closely with the customer, project stakeholders and different departments including marketing, product management and research and development to realise complex lighting solutions across different indoor and outdoor applications including office and education, sports, urban & architectural, industry and retail. What’s more, they participate in projects all around the world.

Who does what?

Complex Project Management
The Complex Management Team work alongside the international salesforce to develop outstanding solutions for a wide range of projects. They establish and maintain strategic networks to create groundbreaking product developments aligned with the newest trends in lighting.

Concept Engineering & Design
When it comes to speed, market proximity and innovative ideas, the Concept Engineering & Design Team are the Atelier of Light’s pioneers. This group is made up of mechanical and electrical engineers and product and industrial designers who are the driving force behind new and sophisticated luminaires and lighting systems. They work in a fast-paced environment to create customer-specific solutions which can eventually form part of the standard portfolio.

Lighting Solutions & Concepts
The Lighting Solutions & Concept team are the font of all light application knowledge within the Zumtobel Group. They have high technical expertise in architecture and engineering and their focus lies in application and planning support for the most complex projects that the Atelier of Light is involved with. The team is also responsible for developing, introducing and implementing innovative methods and software based planning tools for both the Zumtobel Group brands and clients.

You might be wondering what the benefits are of utilising a team such as the Atelier of Light, especially when it’s unique to the Zumtobel Group. For the most challenging and significant architectural projects, the Atelier of Light provide unrivalled expertise to ensure the very best lighting solutions are used, even when this means developing something completely new.

To get an insight into how the Atelier of Light provides a unique service, we talked to Susanne Straub from the Lighting Solutions & Concepts team with a focus on sports.

Q. What role does the Atelier of Light play when it comes to sports projects?

A. The Atelier of Light team provide support in technical lighting design issues and take the lead for larger stadium projects. We also provide advice and active support with the alignment of floodlights and light measurement. A newly acquired measuring device has enabled us to work quicker, especially with the aid of our own in-house developed tools including lighting design software HILITE Sport.

Q. What’s your particular role within the Atelier of Light?

A. My special role in the AoL team is on the lighting design and (co-)supervision side of large stadium projects. I also support training sessions for HILITE. As part of a team, I am also responsible for specifications and further developments as well as bug reports for the in-house program and, in particular, the HILITE plugin.

Q. Tell us more about HILITE and the tools/technologies that the Atelier of Light use that benefit sports lighting projects.

A.The Atelier of Light team works almost exclusively on prestige projects with a specially developed software called ‘HILITE Sport’. This is used for lighting design as a plug-in version of the pCon.planner PRO program. As there is a constant exchange with the developers, the program is constantly being improved, which gives us a clear competitive advantage. In particular, an integrated ‘auto’-optimisation function gives us a clear time and personnel advantage over the competition.

Q. In a typical sports project, at what point does the Atelier of Light get involved, and at what point do they step away from the project? i.e. when is their role complete?

A.We can provide support from the initial presentation through to floodlight alignment and light measurement. This is very project-specific and depends on the know-how and resources in individual countries. A clarifying email or call will help to structure our supporting role and when we step in also depends on our own resources and ongoing projects. The project execution and realisation itself is in the hands of colleagues and stakeholders locally.

Q.What benefit does the Atelier of Light offer to customers working on sports lighting projects (compared to another manufacturer, for example, who doesn’t have anything like the AoL)

A. The AoL plays a key role, especially in some countries where there may be fewer resources to handle large stadium projects. In cases like that, the AoL will get involved from the initial presentation and lighting design through to floodlight alignment and final light measurement. This is unique in these kind of projects and not offered in this depth by other manufacturers. With experience from past large-scale and stadium projects, as well as a lively exchange with individual contacts in the countries, we can create a lighting design that is specific to the customer. The customer therefore benefits from know-how gained by our team worldwide.

Q. What are some of the most interesting sports projects you’ve worked on and why?

A.In principle, every single stadium project is a new task with changing requirements that are clearly defined by the architectural circumstances. As a result, each project with all its ‘highs and lows’ remains memorable. Of course, stadium projects with well-known names such as Boca Juniors, BVB Dortmund, Mainz 05, MHP Arena Stuttgart and also the two UK velodrome projects - Lee Valley London and Manchester, which are often seen on TV, have been an honour to have worked on with the team there. It is mainly the human contacts and teamwork that remain in my memory.

So if you’re looking for exclusive support from project conception right through to completion and beyond, with the Atelier of Light, you’re in the right hands. 

Contact us to find out more.

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