With distinctive bright red elliptical entrances for the new sections of the Messe Dornbirm exhibition centre, the fundamental idea behind the new presentation and event halls was to create one large entity by bringing together the different exhibition spaces, foyers and delivery centre. The result is a truly monolithic structure, more than 170 meters in length, almost 70 meters wide and 17 meters high - a ‘black blox’ with unmistakable bright red ellipses carved into the building. The grandiose vision of Marte.Marte architects, shaped by force and restraint, took the honours in a design competition involving ten participants.
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On the radical transformation of a dated building complex into a new, festive setting for the exchange of products, ideas, and art.
Due to a lack of space, the fairgrounds were moved to the outskirts of town in the mid-1970s, construction took place in several stages, and the resulting trade fair center has since been renovated step by step – with famous architecture firms responsible for certain elements of the 14 exhibition halls. The master plan created in 2012 outlines the upcoming renovation of the west axis – the agora, the central square, should play a bigger role; the orientation within the buildings and open spaces calls for improvement; and the sequence and function of the exhibition halls could be aligned better.
In 2014, Marte Marte Architects convinced the competition jury with its outstanding design, which is characterized by power and restraint. The mighty gesture of the enormous emblematic structure – four exhibition halls are combined into one gigantic, monolithic building measuring 170 m long, nearly 70 m wide, and 16.5 m high – provides the existing conglomerate with an organizing principle and injects it with new energy.
The backbone of the building is the interior circulation axis – room-high glazed openings guide visitors through the series of exhibition halls – red, black, red, black. As eye-catching as the elliptical, hyperbolic incisions in the two longitudinal sides of the buildings are, the color scheme of the giant is just as powerful and vivid – pure, rich colors without shading like those used in coats of arms.
The dimensions and the power of the rooms are impressive. The entire building complex is crisscrossed with a lattice of 4.5-meter-high trusses made of laminated beams, giving one the impression of being placed side by side. A dropped ceiling covers the installation level and only the bottom flanges are visible. Between the facade supports with crossbeams, 70 doors permit exit in the case of fire, and a grid of acoustic panels prevents the dreaded flutter echo and ensures high-quality sound. Black in black. Function in construction. The spectacular foyer between the two exhibition halls is painted entirely in red, and the five elliptical arches of the load-bearing concrete slab form arcades and separate the stream of visitors from those relaxing in the bistro. In terms of lighting, the different sequences of the building cover the entire spectrum: Tunable White bathes the exhibition and event spaces in the appropriate ambiance.
The special challenge for lighting the Messe Dornbirm exhibition centre is not only the variety of functional areas but also the incredible dimensions of the halls, boasting lengths of 75 metres and room heights of 11 metres. Exhibitions, trade fairs, concerts, company parties or congresses – the lighting has to meet the exacting demands of vastly contrasting events. In addition, the solutions need to be efficient and should fulfil specific architectural requirements, such as the visual staging of prominent sections of the external façade and the precise, even and flexible illumination of the entire halls – despite the enormous ceiling heights. Zumtobel solved these tricky tasks with innovative customised fittings from the TECTON Balanced White and PANOS infinity lighting ranges.
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Home fixture: Zumtobel illuminates the new halls at the Messe Dornbirn exhibition centre
The modern architecture and expansive new areas of the Messe Dornbirn exhibition centre fuse impressive aesthetics with practical functionality. Three new exhibition halls, two foyers, a delivery yard and a versatile seminar area bearing the unique signature of the Vorarlberg architect brothers Marte.Marte have been constructed on a site covering 10,500 square metres. The spectacular and imposing buildings are showcased by an innovative lighting concept from Zumtobel, which was carefully drafted to meet the very special requirements of the project.
The distinctive bright red elliptical entrances for the new sections of the Messe Dornbirn exhibition centre, designed by multi-award-winning architecture firm Marte.Marte, were opened to the public for the first time on 21 July. The fundamental idea behind the new presentation and event halls was to create one large entity by deliberately bringing together the different exhibition spaces, foyers and delivery centre. The result is a truly monolithic structure, more than 170 metres in length, almost 70 metres wide and 17 metres high - a “black box” with unmistakable bright red ellipses carved into the building, representing a combination of practicality and baroque style that cannot help but generate interest and intrigue. The grandiose vision of Marte.Marte architects, shaped by force and restraint, took the honours in a design competition involving ten participants.
The power and dimensions of the spaces are key factors. The ceiling construction of the building complex is made up of 65 laminated timber beams that each measures 66 metres. These rest on 11-metre-high wooden supports, which stand at 1.8-metre intervals along the length of the halls. Wood also plays a major role in the interior, with concrete additionally used where appropriate. “Originally the building was designed as a steel construction. During the detailed planning it soon became clear that wood is the better and more economical building material for this project,” explained Stefan Marte.
The core concept of the architects Marte.Marte is evident throughout the new exhibition areas, with bold incisions in the corporate colour of the Messe Dornbirn denoting the different access points, authentically and intriguingly presented by photographer Faruk Pinjo. The western main façade features elliptical delivery yards and entrance areas, while an impressive 14-metre-high elliptical doorway welcomes visitors to the inner area of the complex. The vivid black wooden interiors of Hall 9 and Hall 11, the largest space of its kind in the county of Vorarlberg with a total area of 4800 square metres, offer the ideal setting for a wide variety of different events. This powerful mass of black is broken up by the elliptical entrances, painted in the red of the exhibition centre to create a striking colour combination that passes seamlessly into the somewhat more formal settings of Hall 10 and Hall 12.
The special challenge for the lighting solution is not only the variety of functional areas but also the incredible dimensions of the halls, boasting lengths of 75 metres and room heights of 11 metres. Exhibitions, trade fairs, concerts, company parties or congresses – the lighting has to meet the exacting demands of vastly contrasting events. In addition, the solutions need to be efficient and should fulfil specific architectural requirements, such as the visual staging of prominent sections of the external façade and the precise, even and flexible illumination of the entire halls – despite the enormous ceiling heights. Zumtobel solved these tricky tasks with innovative customised fittings from the TECTON Balanced White and PANOS infinity lighting ranges.
The versatile TECTON Balanced White continuous-row system – a product from the new “the editions - extended collection” special portfolio – allows individual adaptation of the colour temperature to reflect the particular application. This ensures consistently high levels of light quality and enhanced visitor well-being – no matter how the space is used. TECTON is the world's first continuous-row system to feature an 11-pole current conducting section installed in the trunking. All key functions are seamlessly integrated into the versatile rail, including power supply, lighting controls and emergency lighting. A series of connectors enable TECTON components to be connected and combined in countless different ways, guaranteeing a solution that is tailored to suit any application and any lighting task.
The stairwells and the red foyer are illuminated using the PANOS infinity architectural lighting system, offering a leading combination of versatility and energy efficiency. The round LED recessed downlights comprehensively cover every aspect of sophisticated lighting tasks. The light is characterised by a pleasant colour temperature, making it very similar to daylight. With a system luminous efficiency of up to 100 lumens per watt, PANOS infinity is twice as efficient as conventional downlights. Zumtobel produced the fittings for the Messe Dornbirn in the customised tones of black and red, supporting a solution that integrates seamlessly into the overall colour scheme of the architecture.
Numerous joint projects have stemmed from the long-standing partnership enjoyed by the two Vorarlberg companies Marte.Marte and Zumtobel. These include the exhibitions “Appearing Sculptural” and “Concrete Works” at the Zumtobel Light Forum in Dornbirn, a cooperation at the Venice Biennial 2016 and the opening exhibition at the new Messe Dornbirn, which forms part of the Art Bodensee initiative. The installations have been showcased with the help of the ARCOS lighting solution from Zumtobel.
“Architecture is extremely important in our company, as light plays such a crucial role in this discipline. The right lighting can generate completely different effects and spatial atmospheres. The fascinating thing about light is that it really creates spaces. That is why we are especially proud to have realised a project with the renowned Vorarlberg architecture studio Marte.Marte - especially because it is a project in our home town. Messe Dornbirn demonstrates the impressive results of this kind of partnership,” confirmed Manuel Staudinger from Zumtobel Group Vorarlberg, who was responsible for the special lighting solution developed in cooperation with the “Atelier of Light” and Marte.Marte. The Atelier of Light department at the Zumtobel Group can call on an expert team of lighting designers and developers to devise client-oriented lighting systems for large and complex architectural projects.