A lighting solution from Zumtobel has been used to add a mystical air to the new central square in the Swiss village of Bürchen. A concept of radial illumination, which shapes the unique atmosphere in Bürchen when darkness falls, was forged at the Biennale Architettura 2014 following discussions with architect Fernando Menis, who based his approach on the distinctive way rays of light fall through the trees.
First ideas with Fernando Menis at the Biennale in Venice
The inspiration for the lighting solution came to architect Fernando Menis during an exchange of ideas with Zumtobel at the Biennale Architettura 2014 in Venice. As the sunbeams forced their way through the dense foliage and illuminated the Giardini with soft radial light circles, the vision of the lighting concept for "Bürchen Mystic" was born.
The idea was to light the village square of the 700-inhabitant community of Bürchen in the Swiss canton of Valais with similar spiralling circles. It was therefore necessary to use artificial light to imitate the mystical light moods created by the interplay between the sun's rays and their surroundings, while also being careful to take into account the changes in daylight during the different seasons. In addition, the light concept needed to interact with pedestrians by creating subtle pools of light to guide them across the square.
SUPERSYSTEM outdoor tool for the multi-zonal showcasing of streets and open spaces
Like many other resorts in the Alps, Bürchen struggles with a weak economy and the steady stream of young people leaving for other places. The village therefore organised an architecture competition in 2013. Fernando Menis was able to beat off strong competition from a host of renowned international entrants with a concept that brought together the redesigning of the village square with the construction of a new hotel and other facilities that would boost the local tourism and economy. He impressed the jury with a design approach that was both aligned with nature and deeply rooted in the imposing landscape, history and alpine traditions of Bürchen.
The realisation of the design was made possible by a customised lighting solution from Zumtobel, which is now available as a further-developed version of a standard product: SUPERSYSTEM outdoor. The LED exterior luminaire has been optimised for the multi-zonal showcasing of streets and open spaces. Each luminaire encompasses a number of LED light tubes, which can be individually and precisely equipped with appropriate optics that, despite the uniform appearance, blend specific accents with enhanced visual comfort and wellbeing. The natural charm and mystical effect of Bürchen's central square are highlighted with the Zumtobel lighting solution in the evening, creating the right light and an emotional, comfortable atmosphere that harmonises perfectly with nature.
Visual artist Andreas Waldschütz has now provided a genuine visual insight into this special atmosphere. Through a series of dramatic pictures he has managed to capture the unique mystical mood. The interplay of light, the architecture of the Valais mountain village and the alpine landscape on a plateau high above the Rhône Valley are authentically and intriguingly presented with his unmistakable style.
"Bürchen Mystic" among best 20 projects for European Prize for Urban Public Space
As a result of the cooperation between Zumtobel and Fernando Menis, "Bürchen Mystic" now constitutes an additional tourist attraction. Once largely devoid of people, the new village square is now a welcoming location for visitors and villagers alike. The "Bürchen Mystic" initiative has been named among the best 20 projects from hundreds of submissions for the European Prize for Urban Public Space, an award organised to recognise special achievements in the fields of architecture and urban planning.