The Munich Odeon was originally built in 1828 for Bavarian king Ludwig I to serve as a concert hall. Much of the historic building was destroyed during World War II, but in 2004, the architect’s office of Ackermann und Partner were tasked with redesigning the interior courtyard to recall its former splendor.
One of the goals of the lighting design was to highlight the delicate criss-cross pattern of the glass roof and bring out the stately pillars, without obstructing them using large luminaires.
Special optics with a broader light distribution were made for the floor-level lights, with the result that fewer luminaires were required. The positioning of the luminaires, which on the second and third levels are in some cases hidden behind pillars and under panels, make it possible to illuminate the walls uniformly and in an unobtrusive way.
“A DMX controller is used so that the 120 luminaires can either be controlled individually or combined to create lighting scenarios,” explained Weckmer. “Pre-programmed scenarios can be called up at the press of a button and offer more or less endless possibilities. Here you need a careful touch and a sensible approach or it could very easily turn a bit kitschy.”
Erwin Döring added: “Atmosphere is emotion, and emotion is light. Today we can transform various emotions into light and color. We wanted to show just what can be done using light, without ruining the effect of the building. Now we have a stage again, even if it is only a pleasant illusion. When a reception is held here we can bathe the walls in a saturated blue or in a dark orange. A good side-effect of the upward light is that the light sources are reflected in the glass roof. This creates the effect of a starry sky and, together with the color composition it creates a wonderful overall effect. Light and color set the scene in this space; they introduce an element of suspense and create a theatrical atmosphere in an architectural setting.”
And the solution is a success not just in terms of aesthetics but also in terms of economy. “These days sustainability is an important factor,” says Döring. “This solution is sustainable not just because of the low energy consumption – a total of only 1.5 kW – but also because of the lifetime of the luminaires – no less than 50,000 operating hours. And because we have nowhere near exhausted the potential of these luminaires, there will be no need to replace them if additional effects are required in the future. Now that is what you call sustainability!” Peter Ackermann was delighted with the positive response to the design concept: “At first a lot of the staff at the Ministry were skeptical, but now there is huge acceptance for the solution. In the warmer months there isn’t a single week goes by without the foyer being used for one or more events.”