Hellenstein Castle, Heidenheim

Offering a picturesque view over Heidenheim (D) and its surroundings, Hellenstein Castle is located on a 70-metre high rock, which makes it a breathtaking, unmissable eye-catcher for every visitor approaching the city from each of its access ways. Overlooking the city from the top of the hill, the original "Staufer” fort was erected between 1130 and 1145 and was almost completely destroyed in the great fire of 1530. Nowadays, only the ruins of the so-called "Knights' Hall” remain from the medieval construction and host every year the local Opera Festival. Duke Friedrich I von Württemberg transformed this medieval complex into a Renaissance Castle, completing it with mighty round towers and bastions. The former granary of Hellenstein Castle now houses the Museum of Coaches, Carriages and Carts, which displays on its four flours the impressive history of road transport in south-west Germany from the 18th to the 20th century.
Heidenheim municipality, Ralf Käpplinger
Lighting design
Arch. Martin Schepers, GRIVEN lighting design department
Project manager
Jürgen Günther, Hess GmbH
In order to replace the old illumination of the castle based on warm white light discharge lamps dating back to the 80’s, a new lighting system has been recently planned, installed, tested and fine-tuned at Hellenstein Castle. The planning phase was very long and involved the German lighting planner Martin Schepers, the delegate of Heindenheim City Hall Ralf Käpplinger along with the regional sales representative of the company .hess, Jürgen Günther, and the lighting designer department of GRIVEN.

As Heidenheim's main landmark can be actually seen from any direction, the lighting scheme agreed by all the lighting professionals involved promoted an all-around illumination, which could be able to enhance and make the castle visible at night from every point of view, without any dark spots. Moreover, the lighting scheme should remark the beautiful architectural features of the castle with a well diffused, color changing, tunable system with an eye on a considerable energy saving approach. This was the main target of Ralf Käpplinger as spokesperson of the city municipality’s requirements.

The renowned architect from Dortmund, Martin Schepers, who boasts a wide experience in illuminating castles and buildings around Germany, based the preliminary calculations and computer simulations on the official lighting requirements and on his experience, but also on photographs of earlier on-site spotlight tests. "Preliminary calculations are necessary," he says, "but in the end you always have to see the final result "live” in order to implement the ultimate changes and adjustments."

About half of the 35 spotlights installed at the castle have new locations now, also owing to the fact that the previous positions on the roof of the close Güttinger building were not available any more. In order to light up all the sides of the huge building, the chosen LED fixtures were installed all around the castle according to the different architectural layouts and the result desired.
8 units of Powershine MK2 S in RGBW color configuration and provided with medium, wide, extra wide or elliptical wide optical diffusion, were installed on poles or dedicated supports on three sides of the construction in order to give a generous splash of light to the main walls of the castle. To complete the wall washing scheme, a series of Parade S-RGBW-40 Recessed in RGBW with wall wash optics were embedded on the pavement in front of a major internal building, which required a close dedicated illumination owing to the frontal turret which prevented its complete illumination from a distant position. The wall grazing effect was very well appreciated during the testing phase as it allowed to enhance with non-invasive fixtures a part of the castle which is well visible from afar. A series of Parade S-RGBW-20 RGBW was hung head down on the cornice of an internal courtyard building to create a large spot illumination with the help of elliptical wide optics. To complete the lighting scheme, units of Emerald in RGBW color configuration were installed on to the turrets to give them a nicely diffused colored light. Coral RGBW were mounted under the drawbridge to deliver final touches of color to the front entrance of the castle. As a further evidence of GRIVEN’s extreme production flexibility, the fixtures were supplied in a custom dark grey shade, which better adapts to the natural stones color of the castle walls.

The long night of the final testing, commissioning and fine-tuning was really successful as it allowed to reach the desired white shade, a nice warm white between 3000 and 4000K, definitely less yellow than before, that could satisfy all the lighting designers’ requirements. The chosen combination of RGBW LEDs provides an unprecedented astonishing white light output quality, which can be easily tuned in many different white shades owing to the presence of white LEDs along with the traditional red, green and blue ones.

Wireless DMX transmitters, receivers and signal amplifiers have been installed at pre-set locations around the castle in order to allow a seamless DMX signal transmission in areas, which could not be reached by the signal cables.

The final result is really amazing. The architectural details of the castle stand out as sculptures, colors and shapes are more definite and sharper, while an intense color brightness underlines the texture of the old walls, delivering altogether a brand new look to the old giant.
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