08. Jun 2017

Lighting technology put to the test in Swedish Lapland.

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag
Photos: Iglootel, Mira Hampel

Lighting technology today can almost always be used to create smart solutions, but it is not every luminaire that can withstand extreme conditions such as heat or cold. And there are masses of such locations, coupled with endless complex conditions and increasingly tough challenges, where lighting – and luminaires – are required. Far away from our warm comfort zones in regions such as Lapland, for example. And when the German manufacturer Wibre embeds around a hundred luminaires in snow and ice under arctic conditions – with the majority of the fixtures outdoors – where they are in operation for months at sub-zero temperatures, then they have to perform exactly as they would do under “normal” conditions.

In Arjeplog, a small town in a region just below the arctic circle, they build an igloo hotel out of the masses of snow every year. Over the last few years this unique nature hotel has become a popular destination for those seeking a holiday experience of a very special kind between the months of January and April. This is the time of year when Swedish Lapland is covered by a thick layer of ice and snow. Lakes are frozen, roads blocked or as slippery as they can get, and the sunlight is limited to a few hours a day. Pretty unusual daylight conditions whatever way you look at it. The greatest compensation: the northern lights, always a breath-taking spectacle in such climes.

It takes a considerable amount of effort to create the huge snow-white hotel complex. And installing the interior lighting system over a surface area of 1000 square metres is equally demanding: the cabling, cutting-edge LED technology, software, control modules, technical containers, and more. As a partner to this ambitious tourism project, Wibre has supplied a total of 90 lighting fixtures, many of which were originally designed and constructed for application under water (IP68), for the exterior and interior lighting of the snow palace igloo hotel. The luminaires are equipped with one, three, twelve or 36 LEDs, and are DMX-controlled to enable the lighting to be adjusted to align with the time of day or to programme colour changing sequences. This is particularly important, given the little natural light available, but also to create suitable atmospheres for parties or events held there, to support guests’ healthy sleep patterns and wellness activities, and to celebrate the design of the unusual “hostel”.

The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 104 as well as in our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store).


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