04. Oct 2012

City turns lighting laboratory
Luminale 2012 organisers record more than 140,000 visitors at this year’s event

Text: Alison Ritter
Photos: Andreas Wiegand

The biennial Luminale lighting festival has become a classic among Frankfurt’s many large-scale public events. 2012 marked the sixth year that the lighting festival offered a cultural after-hours add-on to the Light+Building fair. Once again, world-renowned lighting designers, young artists and students turned the Rhein-Main region into an international arena for experimental light art and lighting design. The trend towards using buildings for large-scale projections and creating interactive installations continues. The first digitalised lighting projects were in evidence at Luminale years ago. Now they are part and parcel of the event.
After a period of rapid growth in its early years, Luminale now presents around 150 events and thus ranks among Europe’s established architecture and design festivals. During Luminale, everything in the region between Aschaffenburg and Mainz and Offenbach and Darmstadt revolves around lighting. The focal points this year were Frankfurt with around 100 lighting events and Offenbach with around 40. German weather in April is not particularly reliable, but in spite of showers more than 140,000 were recorded as visiting the event. The Palmengarten alone, which was the centre of attraction at Luminale 2012, welcomed nigh on 30,000 visitors over the six days, which is double that of 2010. During Luminale the Palmengarten was transformed into “Lunas Park” and comprised nine lighting
The Palmengarten entrance hall was the location for the installation entitled “Schöner Schein” (English: Looks Nice) by the light artists from “Luminauten”. The intallation filled the glass dome of the conservatory with glowing flowers, attracting people from a considerable distance in and around the park. On entering the conservatory visitors were awestruck by the sight that met their eyes. What they presumed to be beautifully coloured blossoms had turned into a threatening pack of flesh-eating plants, proving just how deceptive appearances can be. The seductive sea of paper blossoms was illuminated using coloured light and decorative projections based on film sequences of visitors’ movements. The concept was built around the indoor botanical gardens with flesh-eating plants contained within the Palmengarten entrance hall. Depending on the noise level inside the space, the fake flowers transformed themselves into a “Little Shop of Horrors”, accompanied by the  menacing sound of chomping and chewing above the visitors’ heads. When everything was quiet, the greedy jaws disappeared giving way to the idyllic array of coloured blossoms. “Schöner Schein” was continued outside with glowing paper water lilies on the pond guiding visitors further into the park, where a further light art installation awaited them. […]

The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 84.

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