Cinematic images of a fire brigade call out

Vorarlberg Fire Brigade Museum in Frastanz/Austria

The Vorarlberger Museumswelt (Vorarlberg Museum) has found a home that is steeped in history in the former factory halls of the Ganahl textile mills. Seven museum facilities are showing examples over a total exhibition space of 2500 square metres. The centrepiece is the Landes-Feuerwehrmuseum (Fire Brigade Museum), with an impressive vehicle hall in the former cotton store or – as the Vorarlbergers say – in the "Wollaschopf".

In the former warehouse, a light and sound installation tells the story of a night-time fire brigade call out. © Zumtobel

The 50-metre long and 9-metre high exhibition hall is displaying a selection of 16 historic fire engines and extinguishers in a light and sound installation which is unique in Europe. A simple press of a finger on the EMOTION touch panel triggers the perilous lightning strike and, with that, the nocturnal drive to an imaginary operation site. Illuminated by VIVO spotlights on a TECTON track, the fire engines head off one by one. Luminescent cords sketch out the village; red strips the dynamics of the traffic.

Lighting solution partner, Martin Welte, has incorporated his narrative talent as well as his many years' experience in professional lighting solutions into this production. To do this, he uses the TECTON continuous-row lighting system to flexibly position all the lighting modules – from the basic lighting through to the accent lighting and up to the emergency lighting – and integrate all these in the control. Even the indirect UV fluorescent lamps (also known as black light) have been included in the continuous-row lighting system as a special solution.

The spectacle is quite a sensation, and the TECTON lighting solution is barely visible. It is only during cleaning or maintenance work that you can see the installation in full light. © Zumtobel
Martin Welte, Head of Electrical Installations at the Frastanz power station, © Zumtobel

In the Vorarlberg Fire Brigade Museum, visitors can experience a blue light operation right in front of their eyes. So how did the idea for this spectacular production come about?

Martin Welte: I thought it was important to make this diverse collection of fire engines of interest also to those people who aren't all that impressed by cars and technology. That's why I wanted to tell a story and get the visitors involved in what was happening. Light plays a valuable role here: It generates emotions and, during the imaginary blue light operation, draws the visitor's attention to where the action is taking place. A second central aspect: The operation of the lighting solution had to be relatively simple, as the Fire Brigade Museum is run by a lot of volunteers – including some who are not particularly technical – who guide the visitors through the exhibition. With this system, all you have to do is press a finger on the touch panel in order to launch the show. EMOTION in turn activates a media and time control, which allows the various scenes to run one after the other.

Did the lighting also have to fulfil any other functions apart from the production?

Martin Welte:
Using the TECTON track, all the lights are integrated in the system, starting with the UV lights and the VIVO LED spotlights for the production of the fire brigade call out, through to the safety lighting for the real emergency situation and up to the general lighting using TECTON luminaires. These are only switched on when cleaning or maintenance work needs to be carried out on the vehicles.

The Fire Brigade Museum, part of the Vorarlberg Museum in Frastanz, Vorarlberg, Austria. © Zumtobel