SWITCHING OFF the ILLUMINATION ART in HAMBURG’S SPEICHERSTADT
Since 1999, when the Speicherstadt illumination was first launched, the association’s board of directors has been looking into the question of how we, the Licht-Kunst-Speicherstadt e.V., can contribute to saving energy.
Although the light art in the Speicherstadt has been using mainly economical LED lights for years and is powered exclusively by electricity from renewable energy sources, we do not want to let the compulsory pause for the light art imposed last autumn by the Federal Energy Saving Ordinance pass idly by, but rather use the associated opportunity to push ahead with the conversion of the still existing older light sources to energy-efficient LED lights, to further expand the still missing lighting and thus to be able to stage the light art Speicherstadt even more sustainably and broadly in the future.
The evening artistic illumination will initially only be resumed during the “blue hour” from 4 August 2023, after which the illumination is scheduled to resume full operation on 3 October 2023.
You, too, can support us in this! Even with a small donation, you can make a valuable contribution to the renewal and imminent completion of the light art in the Speicherstadt!
20 YEARS LICHTKUNST
20 years ago, on 27 April 2001, the Licht-Kunst-Speicherstadt association was founded in Hamburg. The initiators thus laid the foundation for the impressive brick ensemble and Unesco World Heritage Site to be brought out of its “shadowy existence” and put into the “right light” every evening. Without the association and the private-sector commitment of its members, the Speicherstadt would not shine.
Hamburg’s historic Speicherstadt is one of the Hanseatic city’s most famous sights and a magnet for locals and tourists alike. For 20 years now, the illumination has been particularly popular, illuminating the red-brick warehouse and office buildings in a soft light during the evening hours.
Investments of more than 1 million euros
This was made possible by the Licht-Kunst-Speicherstadt association. It was founded in 2001 by companies and private individuals in a joint initiative with the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA). The approximately 50 members as well as sponsors and partners created the conditions for the Speicherstadt to become a glowing eye-catcher every evening. To this end, the association has invested more than 1 million euros in recent years, generated solely from donations and sponsoring activities.
Dr. Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture and Media: “The fact that the Speicherstadt World Heritage Site shines for all of us is not a matter of course. With the founding of the Licht-Kunst-Speicherstadt association exactly 20 years ago, this extraordinary place was finally put in the right light. This is due not least to outstanding civic commitment. In the future, too, under the artistic direction of Michael Batz, our World Heritage Site will increasingly become art through light, freely accessible and even climate-neutral. A valuable symbol of Hamburg full of charm.”
Around 1,200 luminaires are now installed on the storage blocks and bridges between Oberhafen and Baumwall. At dusk, they transform a large part of the area into a luminous work of art until shortly after midnight, designed by the well-known Hamburg light artistMichael Batz: “The Speicherstadt is exemplary in every respect. Their artistic illumination marked the breakthrough for contemporary lighting design in public spaces in Hamburg.
The town hall, the Kunsthalle, the Schauspielhaus, many other projects have directly followed this language of light. A Hamburg success story that still continues after 20 years,” says Batz.
The illumination is particularly effective in the dark season. The soft, indirect light emphasises the historical character of the building ensemble and atmospherically sets the scene for the neo-Gothic façades with an interplay of light and shadow. Guided tours at blue hour through the streets and courtyards of Speicherstadt as well as twilight cruises with launches across the canals are correspondingly popular.
Since its foundation, the association has always kept up with the times. The non-profit organisation has acted sustainably in the implementation of the light art project from the very beginning. “We started with particularly energy-saving luminaires. Ten years later, we converted the illumination to energy-efficient, low-maintenance and long-lasting LED lights. This was followed in 2019 by the switch to green electricity,” says Dr Roland Lappin, chairman of the Licht-Kunst-Speicherstadt association. This means that the light art project is now operated in a completely climate-neutral way, says Lappin, who is also HHLA‘s Chief Financial and Real Estate Officer. Thanks to HHLA‘s careful and sustainable neighbourhood management, the Speicherstadt has developed from what was once the world’s largest warehouse complex into a lively, inner-city quarter.
Lighting of further buildings in preparation
The Licht-Kunst-Speicherstadt association has many plans for the future. The circle of supporters is to be broadened even more in order to create the basis for further projects: By 2025, the 10th anniversary of the Unesco World Heritage status, further buildings in the Speicherstadt are to be illuminated. So far, a good 75 per cent are illuminated, especially the façades on the canals and buildings facing the city. Now the warehouses facing HafenCity, which are still largely unlit, are to follow suit.
On the occasion of the anniversary, the board of the association produced an anniversary film under the leadership of Mr. Batz. It is available for download here.