Digital Systems

Night-time splendor for the National Theater: OSRAM completes a skillful makeover for the façade of the Munich Opera House

Façade lighting for the National Theater – Munich, Germany

Project summary

After a lengthy planning and decision-making phase, new façade lighting for the Munich National Theater was completed in the summer of 2017. The façade used to be illuminated from the outside, but the new lighting system has been integrated almost invisibly in the fabric of the building. It now highlights every architectural detail of the neo-classical building without being obtrusive. All thanks to state-of-the-art LED technology from OSRAM.


Category: Museums & Education, Flexible Lighting
Subcategory: Architainment lighting, Facade illumination, Monuments, Landmarks
Location: Munich, Germany
Technology/Services: Light engines and LED modules
Year: 2017

Project description

Computer simulations and prototypes – the planning stage

The old lighting for the National Theater at Max-Joseph-Platz in Munich no longer met today’s standards. As usual in times gone by, the theater was illuminated by only two spotlights. These were mounted on the roof of the neighboring former post office and made the architecture seem flat, with many of the details of the ornate façade remaining in shadow. Everyone involved in the project agreed that things had to change. But how? OSRAM not only developed an innovative and coherent concept for the façade lighting but also assisted the building owners, the Bavarian State Opera and the Friends of the National Theater, in the decision-making process. Among other things, OSRAM produced an impressive computer simulation of the planned lighting solution as well as prototypes for three appraisal dates.

Integration in the architecture – LED strips and controllers from OSRAM

To highlight the neo-classical façade architecture from within, the lighting concept makes use of LINEARlight Power Flex Protect from OSRAM Digital Lighting Systems. These extremely flexible LED strips are only ten millimeters wide so they can be integrated almost invisibly and therefore meet the requirements for historic buildings but still offer high luminous flux, simple installation and a life of around 50,000 hours. A total of 170 meters of the LINEARlight Power Flex Protect strips were installed. Lighting control is handled by efficient, reliable and compact OPTOTRONIC 240 universal drivers and OPTOTRONIC intelligent DALI DIM constant-current dimmers (for a dimming level of 25%). The triglyph, for example – the architectural element that connects the columns at the top and carries the upper sections of the building as a unifying link – now appears as a uniform line of light at night. The decorative space in the triangle below (lower tympanum) is uniformly illuminated from the cornicing. To give its figures an aura and to avoid harsh shadows, a fill light is placed behind the figures. The relief in the recessed top gable (upper tympanum) is lit from the canopy. Soft and broad distribution of light ensures that this entire section of the building is now brighter than before.

From the ground up – the colonnade

Perfect staging was also needed, of course, for probably the most striking architectural elements of the National Theater – the eight Corinthian columns on which the whole building seems to rest. For this task the lighting designers turned to the durable low-maintenance OSRAM AquaLED 2 XL recessed floor lights. With an emission angle of 10° or 36° and an adjustable swivel of +/–30°, thirty two of these uplights provide uniform illumination for the entire colonnade.

Contemporary façade lighting

Finally, the façade of the National Theater in Munich has the lighting that it deserves. Every detail of the historic architecture can now be fully appreciated. And compared to the previous lighting, this new system offers considerable energy savings and requires less maintenance.

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