05. May 2011

A consumer’s paradise
Kastner & Öhler in Graz/A demonstrates the scope of modern lighting technology

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Reinhard Vedder, München/D

The Austrian department store Kastner & Öhler in Graz is what one would gene-rally describe as a consumer’s paradise with a long tradition. The displays are attractive, high-quality, elegant in the traditional sense and reflect everything a department store needs to offer to ensure economic success. That said: high-level uniform brightness was no longer felt to be a contemporary approach for presenting the garments and commodities for sale. But how could a balance be found between the necessity to reduce energy consumption and the growing demand on the part of the client for sophisticated lighting compositions and scenarios? The solution lies in modern and detailed planning using state-of-the-art technologies.
What Kastner & Öhler were looking for was a concept that would maintain their tradition as a leading commercial enterprise but re-interpret it in a 21st century sense. The store in Graz offers typical departments such as Ladies and Men’s Wear, Accessories, Perfume and Cosmetics, YoungFashion, Home Décor, Children’s Wear and Toys over40,000 square metres of retail space. From the design point of view this meant returning to the quality of the department stores as they were conceived at the beginning of the 20th century with a leaning towards staged displays and the revival of atriums. The store is thus built around a generously spaced, bright and friendly core zone that provides access to all floors and departments. The individual floors are clearly structured and at the same time designed to make the customers feel comfortable and at home in their surroundings. In spite of the vast variety of commodities on sale, the store can be read as one space. The corporate philosophy of Kastner & Öhler goes beyond the goal of economic success and is based on the belief that the desire to spend money is an emotional issue. Light therefore plays a significant role in shop design: there is nothing better when it comes to enhancing product displays. Kastner & Öhler are even talking about creating atmospheres that appeal to shoppers’ emotions so strongly that they are indeed captivated on entering the store. It just goes to show how convinced – and experienced –clients are when it comes to what can be achieved through intelligent lighting design. At any rate, it appears to have already become a tradition that pays off, and deserves renewed attention to achieve perfection. The current refurbishment of the parent store, which was opened over a century ago in 1883, is a fine example of how lighting can be designed today to be both exciting and energy efficient. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 76

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