King Ludwig II would have been delighted. The sovereign, who had always been very open-minded about innovative technologies, had a number of sensational engineering advancements implemented during construction of Neuschwanstein Castle in the nineteenth century. All of these, but in particular the high-quality artistic furnishings of the magnificent rooms, are now being highlighted efficiently, but above all gently, by LEDs supplied by Zumtobel.
The Supersystem LED lighting system and Tempura LED spotlights have recently been installed in the magnificent Throne Room. Nearly all areas that are accessible for visitors are scheduled to be fitted with individual LED lighting solutions by Zumtobel in the course of this year. Thus, the Bavarian Administration of State-owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes has obviously skipped a few generations of lighting technology, proceeding directly to the most innovative light source, the LED.
The clients were particularly impressed by the luminaires’ reduced dimensions and UV-free light. As Heiko Oehme from the building department of the Bavarian Palace Administration explains: “LED luminaires are perfectly suited for our historical rooms full of very delicate furniture, fabrics and paintings. They won’t cause our precious exhibits to fade, and their brilliant light enables us to provide accents in the rooms. By selecting colour temperatures between warm (3,000K) and cool light (6,500K), we can emphasise details to optimum effect.”
Conserving the historical structures
Today, Neuschwanstein is one of Europe’s most visited palaces and castles. About 1.3 million people visit the ‘Palace of the Fairy Tale King’ each year. In summer, each day more than 6,000 visitors crowd the rooms that were originally designed for one inhabitant only. What worries those in charge most is that the historical materials are exposed to heavy doses of UV and IR radiation, both through sunlight and through artificial lighting. For this reason it was absolutely necessary to improve the existing lighting system. Conservational considerations are of utmost importance in this respect.
The Bavarian Palace administration specifically requested that existing fixing points had to be used for installing the new luminaires or, as an alternative, that the installers used clamping devices that do not require any interference with the historical structures. In order not to disturb the historical room impression, visible light sources should be avoided to the greatest possible extent.
Opting for Zumtobel’s Supersystem was an easy choice, since this lighting system is architecturally restrained and at the same time very effective in setting attractive accents, even from longer distances. The LED spots with just 2.5W can be adjusted to different light distribution arrangements by using a variety of optical attachments. The Tempura LED spotlights which effectively illuminate the splendid colours of the dome of the Throne Room allow modification of the colour temperature between 2,700K and 6,500K by the simple push of a button. Thus, the museum staff can always make adjustments.
With the new LED lighting system, Neuschwanstein Palace has ventured a step into the 21st century. From a conservational and design-oriented point of view, this was the right decision to protect and emphasise the valuable and unique room furnishings.