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WGV Casino and Guardhouse, Stuttgart, Germany

Issue 81 October / November 2014 : Retail : Cafeteria


The WGV Casino and Guardhouse is a gift from employee to employer, a social space and canteen for the use of the insurance firm’s staff. Pfarre Lighting Design developed a lighting scheme which embraced the differing styles of the buildings concerned.

All firms claim to have a high regard for their staff, but German insurance company WGV have put their money where their mouth is.

The organisation has created a ‘gathering area’, a relaxed space at their headquarters in Stuttgart, to be used by their employees as both a self-service cafeteria and a space for special events.

The set up of the structure posed a number of challenges for lighting consultants Pfarré Lighting Design. The topography of the site is particularly interesting and features three terraced levels in the casino section of the structure and the garden. Further to this, the newer area of the site is adjacent to the ‘Old Guardhouse’, a protected historic building.

The casino section of the site, which holds the self-service cafeteria, features a three-tiered ceiling, the heights varying from 12 feet to 13.5 feet. Skylights have been installed in between each new step of the ceiling, running the length of the entire 3,767-square-foot cafeteria area.

Pfarré Lighting Design carefully considered the differing architectural style of the buildings and the changing detail of both structures and, in close consultation with the architects, began to develop a lighting design.

The agency decided not to push any one particular lighting element to the fore, with the one exception of a group of impressive looking octahedron shaped pendants, designed especially by Lichtlauf Munich, for the events space in the Old Guardhouse. In this older section of the site, unlike in the main seating area where luminaires are not seen, the octahedral form of the custom-designed dimmable fluorescent pendant luminaires in three different sizes are celebrated.

The unusual makeup of the multi-tiered casino roof in the main seating area meant that this part of the project had to be approached with verve. To light this part of the project a custom 10W 3000K LED-baffle ceiling system was developed in close co-operation with architects and acoustic planners, ensuring a smooth, indirect, ambient lighting solution was developed, despite the difference in ceiling heights across the room. In between the baffles, LED spotlights in square housings provide direct lighting onto the tables.

Along the fascia of the centre ceiling slab, panels of artwork in shades of red, magenta, and purple wash reflected colour into the space adding another set of hues into the mix.

An LED strip has been installed on the opposite side of the skylight in order to increase this feature’s effect in the evenings.

Apart from the effect of the direct lighting, the reflection of this illuminated artwork creates a very pleasant and smooth gradient of colour on the architectural surfaces, creating a treat of colour that changes and alters depending on the position of the viewer. These were executed with dimmable fluorescents, in three different dimensions.

Next to the cafeteria and open seating area is the Old Guardhouse. A series of stylish garden terraces and ramped walkways connecting old and new while inground uplights illuminate the trees.

The terraced gardens act as a visual extension of the interior casino. This architectural composition is enhanced by linear uplighting for the dividing concrete slabs and vegetation, this is provided by WEEF in-ground uplights as well as custom made linear inground LED luminaires by Lichtlauf. A soft wallwash was also developed for the Old Guardshouse‘s facade, using WEEF inground wallwashers, surface mounted wall luminaires from BEGA and wall recessed floor washlights from ERCO. Balanced lighting levels, both horizontal and vertical, support this spatial approach and create an enjoyable outdoor atmosphere.

The lighting designers worked closely with the architects and acousticians to provide an overall lighting scheme that provides a discernible light quality, without, for the most part, drawing the eye to the fixtures. Yet when fixtures have been installed to do just that, in the Old Guardhouse, the fixtures used are creative and beautiful to look at.
Seemingly simple, but certainly not, this skillful lighting design unites three distinctive, but connected, spaces, while celebrating the very essence of light itself.


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