As the lighting partner and main supplier of custom indoor and outdoor lighting for Frankfurt’s most prestigious new urban development – the four high-rises that make up FOUR Frankfurt – lighting specialist Zumtobel has already delivered around 15,000 luminaires for the two office towers alone. The project is being managed by the property development company Groß & Partner Grundstücksentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH. Located in Frankfurt’s banking quarter and the work of renowned Dutch architects UNStudio, the striking architecture of the four high rises will be illuminated by specially developed custom luminaires on the façade, with additional lighting installations in the foyer areas. The order volume for the project is expected to reach a figure in the high single-digit millions.
RFour iconic high-rise buildings, one measuring up to 233 metres high, are currently under construction at the former Deutsche Bank site in Frankfurt’s banking quarter. With FOUR Frankfurt, a project by Groß & Partner Grundstücksentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, the metropolis on the Main is gaining a new, inner-city, mixed-use district aimed at opening up and revitalising the previously isolated site. The mixed-usage concept places people and their needs centre stage, as is evident in the design of the buildings, the public spaces and the lighting. Two of the towers have been designed as offices, the other two as apartments and a hotel, while the complex also includes space for catering and retail outlets. Thanks to its unique position within the skyline and proximity to the city centre’s shopping and pedestrian zones, this multifunctional district is set to create a new neighbourhood for Frankfurt. The lighting concept supports perceptual processes, aids orientation and creates the right atmospheres for multifunctional use. Construction work on the city’s largest building site has been underway since 2019. As lighting partner, Zumtobel brings its expertise in complex large projects and in developing special project-specific lighting solutions.
Human-centric office lighting
In the two office towers, the focus of the lighting concept is on providing flexible lighting scenarios that offer maximum support to employees as they work. Specially developed by Zumtobel for the project, the LED panel louvre luminaire with tunableWhite technology allows the colour temperature and light intensity to be adjusted as needed, for the right lighting mood for any time of day, activity or individual requirement. Around 15,000 Zumtobel luminaires will illuminate the upscale office spaces.
Lighting installations inspired by the elements of air and water
“The design of each of the project’s four towers has been inspired by one of the four elements. ‘Air’ and ‘water’ are the defining elements of the two commercial towers. We have therefore also incorporated these specifications into the lighting design and aimed to implement them,” explains Wilfried Kramb, lighting designer at a.g Licht.
The foyer in Building 1 is defined by an impression of ‘airiness’ and ‘playfulness’. Here, a.g Licht and UNStudio have developed backlit baffle ceilings for the smaller foyers to inspire a feeling of weightlessness, like that of a cloud. In the large foyer, the ‘starry sky’, a random distribution of small downlights that can also be dynamically controlled in groups, creates a distinctive entrance area.
‘Flowing and dynamic’ was the motto in building 4. Here, the entrance hall features different heights and a light waterfall developed by a.g Licht and UNStudio, which accompanies visitors seamlessly from the façade to the lifts. Here, too, a dynamic control system adapts the light colour and intensity of the 23-metre-long waterfall depending on the time of day, while luminaires developed specially for the project blend subtly into the ‘starry sky’ and the light waterfall. In this concept, it’s the design as a whole that steals the show – not the individual luminaires.
Façade lighting accentuates the architectural design
FOUR Frankfurt heralds the arrival of a new, distinctive architectural ensemble in Frankfurt. Ben van Berkel, UNStudio founder and lead architect, says of the project: “The different orientation and heights of the four towers make for variety within the skyline and combine with the subtle bends and offsets in the individual buildings to create a dynamic spatial and visual relationships between the four towers.”
The linear façade luminaire, developed by Zumtobel and lighting design studio Bartenbach, follows the vertical lines of the buildings over a length of 2,000 metres, thus accentuating the key design element of the UNStudio architects, who are overseeing completion of the project in a joint venture with HPP Architekten. The eight-centimetre-wide luminaire is available in two light colours, both of which can be controlled separately. In the dark, it creates a gentle, dynamic light on the exterior façade, while during the day it remains invisible thanks to its colour, which perfectly matches the glass. Available in different lengths, the luminaire adapts to the different heights of each floor, with a range of bevelled end pieces accommodating the bends and shifts of the façades.
Project development: Groß & Partner Grundstücksentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, Frankfurt
Design architect: UNStudio, Frankfurt.
Project design and implementation: UNStudio, Frankfurt/HPP Architekten GmbH, Frankfurt.
Lighting design: a.g Licht GbR, Cologne/Bartenbach GmbH, Aldrans.
Electrical design: TP Plan, Gaggenau.