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The opulence of the Orient in striking ERCO LED light: Schuhbeck’s world of fine spices, Munich

Germany’s most celebrated chef, Alfons Schuhbeck, offers a realm of gourmet experiences on Munich’s ‘Platzl’ (plaza). At the heart is his spice shop that replicates an Oriental bazaar, with exotic flavour creations presented in a professional and eye-catching style with the help of ERCO LED spotlights and downlights.

The design objectives for the fresh look of Alfons Schuhbeck’s spice shop at Munich’s ‘Platzl’ required the creation of an ambience that captures the fire of the Orient, modelled on the exotic allure of Asia. Built in 2003, the flagship store reopened recently offering an opulent shopping experience on two levels with a total floor space of around 300sqm. In the style of an Oriental bazaar, artisans and artists worked to create an interior adorned with ceiling and wall paintings, furniture and sculptures, columns and domes, all ornately gilded and designed to transport patrons to the far-off lands and exotic cities where the spices were sourced. The ERCO LED lighting tools illuminating Alfons Schuhbeck’s spice emporium create separate zones, facilitate orientation and display the product in this oriental world of spices in the best light.

The perception-orientated lighting concept for effective product presentation combines accent lighting with vertical illuminance using ERCO LED spotlights and downlights. Their spectrum of colours and textures is as wide and varied as the selection of spices and ingredients in Schuhbeck’s world of spices, which explains the primary focus on true-to-nature colour rendering in the lighting design. The ERCO LED lighting tools used in the shop - Optec spotlights and Quintessence downlights in warm white at 3000K - guarantee optimal colour rendering (RA ≥ 90) as a standout attribute and unique selling point. The ceilings feature Quintessence recessed downlights that remain virtually invisible to the customer, providing uniform ambient lighting with efficient glare control in the shop. Their warm white light emphasises the fine wood flooring as beautifully as the wood and gold tones of the elegant furnishing. In contrast, the neutral white light (4000K) of the Optec spotlights, discreetly mounted above the furniture and cabinets, illuminates the white and blue sky painted on the ceiling, making the room feel more spacious.

A choreography of both light colours stages objects, such as the murals up the staircase, for a true visual experience: The lower section of the painting, showing an oriental city in sand and earth tones, is effectively illuminated using Optec warm white spotlights with flood lens, whilst neutral white downlights with spot light distribution accentuate individual clouds in the seemingly endless blue sky above, a narrow spot beam of Optec neutral white light breaking through the clouds like a ray of sunshine. It is this dialogue of neutral white and warm white light, implemented entirely with Optec spotlights, that sets the cool shades of the blue sky painted on the ceiling in stark contrast to the warm, earthy tones of the furniture and spices, thus ensuring optimal illumination of relevant features using the perfect colour of light. The result creates a stunning effect.

In versions with different light distributions, the LED spotlights meet all the requirements of high-quality lighting for shops and product presentations. Specific emphasis given to individual areas of the room minimises the number of luminaires required for efficient illumination, leading to significant savings in maintenance and operating costs.

Project data

Project: Alfons Schuhbeck’s spice shop, Munich / Germany
Lighting design: a.g Licht, Bonn / Germany
Photography: Dirk Vogel, Dortmund / Germany

Products: Optec, Quintessence
Photo credits: © ERCO GmbH,, photography: Dirk Vogel

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About ERCO

The ERCO Light Factory in Lüdenscheid is a leading international specialist in architectural lighting using LED technology. The family business, founded in 1934, now operates as a global player with over 60 subsidiaries, branches and agencies in over 40 countries worldwide. Since 2015 ERCO's portfolio has been 100% LED. Inspired by "light digital" as its leitmotif, ERCO in Lüdenscheid develops, designs and produces digital luminaires with focus on photometrics, electronics and design. Working closely with architects, lighting designers and engineers, ERCO develops lighting tools used primarily for applications in the following fields: Work, Shop, Culture, Community, Hospitality, Living, Public and Contemplation. ERCO understands digital light as the fourth dimension of architecture - providing highly precise and efficient lighting solutions to support creative designers in turning their visions into reality.
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