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Schatzalp Funicular, Switzerland

Issue 43 Jun / Jul 2008 : Architectural : Transport

Architect: HERZOG & DE MEURON Lighting Design: LEDON

Ledon provides spectacular lighting for the famous Schatzalp funicular railway.

Thomas Mann brought fame to the Schatzalp Hotel in 1924 in his famous novel “The Magic Mountain”. The historic branch line to the hotel – the Schatzalp funicular – is now welcoming visitors with a luminous track alongside the actual rail tracks. Using a concept of colour changing LED light tubes including wiring, control system and programming, Ledon has created a lighting backdrop for the funicular that is visible for miles around.
Until the late nineteenth century, the Schatzalp was a sun-drenched terrace just above the timber line, only frequented by shepherds and their livestock. Afterwards a sanatorium for pulmonary complaints was built, and so was a funicular railway to transport the patients. The Schatzalp Hotel was erected in 1899 in the art nouveau style, and has been operated as a mountain hotel since 1954. Situated 300 metres above Davos, it is a popular attraction for a great number of guests. An extension planned by the Basel architects Herzog & Meuron has been under discussion for quite some time in the form of a tower – a new land-mark for Davos and a further tourist attraction. The famous Schatzalp funicular from the days of yore has always belonged to the hotel and was completely renovated in 2006. Since spring 2008, it has emerged in new and brilliant radiance through a spectacular lighting scenario of far-reaching effect. 700 metres of the railway line have been fitted with colour-changing LED light tubes by Mytronic Ledon. Visible for miles around at night, the light track snakes up the mountainside, impressive not only on account of its efficient operation but also as a fascinating eye-catcher in the mountains above Davos.
As an LED application specialist, Ledon has created a flexible Plug&Play solution for this completely autonomous project. Besides the lighting solution, the Zumtobel Group brand also provided the structured wiring, power supply, infrastructure and control system software. The inclined lift and picturesque branch line to the hotel has been fitted with LED light tubes, harmonising remarkably with the architectural design of lines and edges. Almost 280 LED tubes, each 2.6 metres long, have been assembled with a total of 27,000 pixiLEDs and can be individually controlled in sections of around 30 cm. Based on various control sequences, the funicular again and again conjures up fascinating and intriguing impressions in the variation of light. Whatever the occasion, the colour effects can be adjusted to suit the most diverse requirements and ideas of corporate design. In this way, the LED lighting scenario meets not only functional but also the highest aesthetic standards in illuminating the funicular.


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