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Technical environment

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Brilliant, masterful and efficient – the relighting of Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus in Berlin

Established almost two decades ago, Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus in Berlin is now in the process of upgrading its in-store design experience. At the heart of its modernised concept is a new lighting system with advanced ERCO LED lighting tools.

Describing itself as a department store selling culture, Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus on Berlin’s Friedrichstraße has become an institution of sorts - firmly established as a fixture in the city’s cultural landscape, it is, as well, a popular destination for shoppers. Opened in 1997 the store boasts a wide array of books, CDs, DVDs and sheet music on around 7,000sqm divided over five floors. Unaffected by the current trend in retail business, the KulturKaufhaus is proud of a good growth rate, encouraging its management to decide that the time had come to upgrade the store’s interior. Light was to be central to the new concept.
As planning got under way in 2013, several lighting suppliers were invited to present their design solution on site in a mock-up. In the end, it was the quality and guaranteed longevity of ERCO luminaires, as well as their quick availability if ever substitutes were needed, that tipped the scales in favour of ERCO. The significant investment costs would easily be compensated by the efficiency of the ERCO lighting solution, explains Julia Claren, Managing Director of the KulturKaufhaus.

Read-intensive merchandise - a challenge for the lighting concept

The refurbishment of Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus provided a challenge that required creativity and gave rise to a differentiated lighting concept. Her main concern, says Julia Claren, was to use light to create a pleasant ambience for customers and staff, but also to prioritise the presentation of merchandise on the shop floor. Books and CDs, she explains, are products that shoppers like to examine and this must be possible without tiring influences. The right setting ensures that customers find what they need easily and feel welcome to browse. A critical aspect, therefore, was optimised visual comfort to facilitate reading, requiring light that offers precise colour rendering, efficient glare control and a consistent colour temperature. Ms. Claren also wanted the light in the store to subdivide the extensive space by defining separate zones that facilitate orientation and create hierarchies of attention.
With this in mind, the lighting concept was based on vertical illuminance to achieve optimal illumination of the considerable shelf space. Dynamic accent lighting with efficient ERCO spot and oval flood distribution sets off individual zones and merchandise displays. All throughout the store, the concept deploys just three luminaire ranges: Light Board and Logotec as well as Quintessence downlights. Each luminaire emits a pleasant, warm white light.

A quantum leap: From monotonous light to perception-orientated illumination

The new lighting solution at Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus is clearly a huge step forward, as the temporary, parallel operation of old and new lighting systems revealed during the renovation project. In its previous design, the KulturKaufhaus had followed the principle of brightness at all cost, resulting in diffuse and insufficiently differentiated light that failed to set off the diversity of products in all their detail. The new concept, meanwhile, enables a controlled use of light, illuminating only and precisely the target surfaces with optimised illuminance levels as well as superior light quality. As well as demonstrating once more the power of light to draw attention instinctively onto the products, the meticulously aimed light contributes to a pleasant, almost homely atmosphere in the upgraded store.
Julia Claren insists that her expectations in regard to the new results have been “met to the fullest extent”. Once the renovations are finished, she adds, “I believe we will be the first department store in Germany to complete the migration to LED technology.” A pioneering role that leaves Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus with a sense of achievement, and rightly so.

Project data

Project: Culture Department Store Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus GmbH, Berlin / Germany
Client: Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus GmbH, Berlin / Germany
Concept and design: ROBERTNEUN Architekten, Berlin / Germany
Interior architecture: Annika Becker and Ladislaus von Fraunberg, Berlin / Germany
Products: Light Board, Logotec, Quintessence
Photo credit: ERCO GmbH,, Photo: Rudi Meisel

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Die ERCO Lichtfabrik mit Sitz in Lüdenscheid ist ein führender Spezialist für Architekturbeleuchtung mit LED-Technologie. Das 1934 gegründete Familienunternehmen operiert weltweit in knapp 40 Ländern mit über 60 Tochtergesellschaften, Niederlassungen und Vertretungen. Seit 2015 basiert das Produktprogramm vollständig auf LED-Technologie. Unter dem Leitmotiv "light digital" entwickelt, gestaltet und produziert ERCO in Lüdenscheid digitale Leuchten mit den Schwerpunkten lichttechnische Optiken, Elektronik und Design. Die Lichtwerkzeuge entstehen in engem Kontakt mit Architekten, Lichtplanern und Elektroplanern und kommen primär in den folgenden Anwendungsbereichen zum Einsatz: Work und Shop, Culture und Community, Hospitality, Living, Public und Contemplation. ERCO versteht digitales Licht als die vierte Dimension der Architektur - und unterstützt Planer dabei, ihre Projekte mit hochpräzisen, effizienten Lichtlösungen in die Realität zu überführen. Sollten Sie weiterführende Informationen zu ERCO oder Bildmaterial wünschen, besuchen Sie uns bitte auf Gerne liefern wir Ihnen auch Material zu Projekten weltweit für Ihre Berichterstattung.

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