Light and architecture in harmony with the poetry of the place

New lighting concept for Alpsteeblick nursing home und care centre | CH

The mission of the 2016 opened nursing home and care centre in the Swiss town of Appenzell is to provide a home and community venue for people in need of care and helping to enjoy a well-earned rest. To fulfil this mantra an extraordinary lighting concept was drawn up by the Reflexion AG Zurich lighting design studio and implemented by Zumtobel.

The carefully planned lighting solution has proved its worth to employees and residents alike during the first year of operation. © Zumtobel Group

Care expert and researcher Linda Premerlani laid the foundations for a special lighting concept during the construction phase of the Alpsteeblick nursing home and care centre. Premerlani looked closely at the results of scientific research projects like the St. Katharina study from Zumtobel, which demonstrated the significant influence of light on patient well-being in medical centres. Based on these findings, residents and employees at Alpsteeblick now experience generous levels of natural light supplemented by artificial light that is adapted to precisely reflect the changing course of daylight. Scientists advocate the use of high, biologically effective light doses during daylight hours – especially for patients with dementia, who often experience a kind of ‘desynchronisation’ of their internal clock.

Light-filled rooms and terraces with sweeping views of the nearby mountains. © Zumtobel Group

Biologically effective light enhances the well-being of residents and employees
Wide-area luminaires from the CIELOS modular lighting system are used to deliver bright and diffuse light in the communal areas of the nursing home. The tunableWhite technology integrated into the fittings seamlessly adjusts the light colour from reddish warm white to bluish daylight white. This is good news for sensitive receptors in the retina part of the human eye, which have a major influence on key hormonal processes. These receptors are optimally stimulated by the additional components of the light colours found in the bluish spectral range. As a result, while reduced and comfortable light moods tend to dominate in the Alpsteeblick facilities during the darker hours, high-intensity diffuse light with a stronger proportion of blue light has a stimulating effect during the day.

The tunableWhite technology imitates natural changes in daylight. The adjusted colour temperature and intensity have an impact on people's physical processes. © Zumtobel Group

CIELOS can also be seen in a special area known as the ‘care oasis’, where bedridden residents receive intensive assistance. As access to daylight is rather limited in this part of the nursing home, individuals can enjoy a large and diffuse tunableWhite lighting solution that acts like a lighting canopy directly above the beds. Precise controls then ensure a gentle transition as night approaches.

The ONDARIA fittings installed in the communal sections and meeting places further support the biological lighting effects. With its round design and a seemingly spontaneous luminaire arrangement, ONDARIA also creates a welcoming atmosphere in the entrance areas of the home.

CIELOS modular lighting system delivering bright and diffuse light in the communal areas. © Zumtobel Group
ONDARIA creates a welcoming atmosphere in the entrance areas of the health centre. © Zumtobel Group

Perfect symmetry between the psychological and biological aspects of light
The lighting solution in Alpsteeblick has proved its worth to employees and residents alike during the first year of operation. Two senior members of staff from the nursing care team (Mrs. Gordana Pavlovic, the head of the care and support section, together with another team leader) have been working closely with Mr. Robert Heim from the local Elektro Sonderer AG company to configure appropriate light patterns for residents and employees. A rolling process has helped find solutions that meet the full range of needs and expectations, enabling the new installation to strike a fine balance between visual, emotional and biological requirements.

A very special light is certainly shining throughout the Alpsteeblick home.