The Mönckebergstrasse is a major thoroughfare in the historical centre of Hamburg and the city’s busiest shopping street, especially at Christmas.
It was designed from scratch before the First World War as part of a modernisation drive approved by the German senate, financed by property sales and built by private investors. The entire project was launched after the 1892 cholera epidemic had shown Hamburg to be a city riddled with disease. The demolition of the residential district that stood here began in 1906 and traffic began to circulate on this new shopping street as early as1909. It was named after Johann Georg Mönckeberg, who had succeeded in regenerating and sanitising the area despite considerable resistance.
Naturally the street lighting has changed over the centuries, from the initial gas lamps to the complex incandescent illumination structures of the 1930s and onto the lighting adopted in the mid-1980s when the pavements were widened and the street was pedestrianised. Four-metre-high lampposts were used to illuminate the pedestrian area and projectors were installed to flood the adjacent façades with flat, uniform light.
Given this situation, in 2009, the Mönckebergstrasse shop owners demanded a new project that would make the street stand out and improve the visibility of its prestigious façades. They did not want more light, but better light with a more harmonious atmosphere.
A Business Improvement District (BID) was therefore established. This project combined public and private participation, bringing together the city authorities, property owners and retailers.
A tender was organised for lighting designers and luminaire manufacturers, from which three main actors emerged: the light planner Tom Schlotfeldt as president of the jury and light design planning consultant, the designer Torsten Fritze and iGuzzini as manufacturer.
iGuzzini offered its technology in the form of LED luminaires, mounted on the discreet, elegant and versatile nine-metre-high poles designed by Fritze with a special head applied at a high of seven metres.
And so the project, which turned out to be a very long one, began. In fact, it lasted from 2009 to 2020 as the initial project had to adapt to new priorities, changing expectations, expanded tasks and technological innovations. But, in the end, it was completed.
“Ex-centric” a lamp produced specifically for this project, that takes its name from the fact that its head is offset from the centre, is now installed on the Mönckebergstrasse. Its structure has freed up space as the old lighting devices have been eliminated or incorporated.
The pole has an overall height of 9 metres, divided into two levels: 7 metres, the height at which the “eccentric” ring is located and then two more metres in which the pole gradually tapers. Given the height, dimensions and weight of the structure that holds the luminaires, static and dynamic tests were conducted on the poles at the Università Politecnica delle Marche.
The ring includes high efficiency luminaires featuring an optical assembly with street optics, as well as 12 Woody and Miniwoody LED projectors. It is also fitted with an upper cover made partly of a transparent material.
The projectors are mounted and positioned to perform different functions. Four point downwards to create scenarios on the pavements and lower parts of the façades with white and RGB light, whereas eight 3000 K white light Woody and Miniwoody luminaires illuminate the architectural details of the façades and tops of the trees.
All the luminaires are DALI integrated to allow dynamic scenarios to be managed too. With this new solution, energy savings of 80 % have been achieved, compared to the previous traditional lamps.
The structure also meets a specific requirement expressed by the store owners regarding Christmas lighting. Thanks to special connectors installed on the pole designed by Torsten Fritze Christmas lights can now be directly powered and controlled. This project has certainly taken a long time, but it has included the creation of a new product that enhances urban space, not just the road surface, but the façades of the building and the whole environment in general. So, store owners can now show visitors a street that is a clearly defined location with unique qualities, like staggered roofs, architectural details and a welcoming atmosphere. All elements that allow the street to compete with shopping malls.
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