Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG


Königswinter, Germany
pape + pape architekten bda, Kassel
WWG Wirtschaftsförderungs- und Wohnungsbaugesellschaft mbH der Stadt Königswinter
Restaurant & Eventlocation Hermann J. Nolden
Project size
1,500 sqm
Lukas Roth
Overall building budget
9.3 million euros

Landmark with Panoramic View – The Lighting Solution for the Restaurant on the Drachenfels Plateau

The Drachenfels, located between Koenigswinter and Bad Honnef upon Rhine is considered to be the most frequently climbed mountain in Germany. However, the gastronomic infrastructure on the mountain top was the main reason for a continuous loss of attraction over the last couple of years.

It consisted of a hotel from the 1930ies and a large, almost 40-year-old restaurant built in keeping with the style of Brutalism. The sprawling edifice with its horizontal concrete ribbons did not only interfere with the perception of the castle ruin and the palace. Since it extended all the way to the southern end of the plateau, its architecture also limited the greatest asset of Drachenfels: the view of the river Rhine. In order to redefine the context, a competition was launched and the third-place design from the landscape designer plandrei Landschaftsarchitekten Erfurt and the architects Pool 2 Architekten Kassel was put into effect.

Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG
Licht Kunst Licht AG

A pivotal element of the open area is a phalanx of seating steps offering a view of the Rhine valley, the castle ruin and the Seven Hills. The connection between the new building and the historical volume has created a flexibly useable spatial sequence. The ensemble fulfils the requirements of outing gastronomy with several thousands of guests during the course of one day. Furthermore, conferences and evening receptions can be hosted.

The illumination concept for the restaurant inside the glass cube had to be designed to cater to the requirement of maximum flexibility. An attractive solution for every-day operation and glamour for nocturnal events was imperative. Both configurations where to function with the most different table layouts, ranging from romantic dinners to large banquets.

The solution to the challenge is the use of direct downlights emanating their light from circular apertures in the restaurant’s custom-made metal ceiling panels. In their interaction with the predominantly dark surfaces in the space they engender inviting luminous islands. A gimbal frame allows for an adequate luminaire adjustment for each table configuration.

The restaurant staff can aim the projectors from the ground in a precise fashion with the assistance of a special tool. The luminaire’s direct light distribution and the low-reflectance spatial surfaces avoid unwanted reflections in the floor-to-ceiling restaurant glazing. Thus, the view of the valley remains unimpaired.

The direct illumination of the Drachenfels restaurant fulfils the gastronomy business’s flexibility demands and establishes an attractive spatial atmosphere with an undisturbed view for the guests. In order to support the long-distance visual impact of this prominent and popular location the downwards directed light has been complemented with another component: Appropriate to its landmark status, the building was to be experienced from the Rhine valley also at night. Thus the slab view from below is enhanced with light. This had to be approached with care, because the Drachenfels restaurant is located inside a wildlife sanctuary. Flora and fauna were not to be disturbed by the illumination.

The use of colored light was the solution for this challenge. Even with a low luminous output strong visual effects can be achieved. Therefore, RGB-LED light strips have been installed behind the perforated metal panels of the restaurant’s coffered ceiling. Their diffuse LED light softly illuminates the square ceiling coffers. By virtue of a control system accessing all indoor and outdoor lighting systems the restaurant staff can adjust the ceiling illumination’s color. Apart from its exterior visual impact it therefore contributes to enhancing the interior atmosphere.

Whether it is a particularly warm light for festive evening receptions or the CI color of a company event – the Drachenfels restaurant perpetually offers an individual illumination on demand.