Licht Kunst Licht AG
Cultural Buildings & Event Locations

Sayn Iron Works Foundry

Bendorf, Germany
Municipality of Bendorf
Foundation Sayn Iron Works
Project size
1,150 sqm
Johannes Roloff
Thomas Naethe
Lighting budget
0.1 million euros

Old Iron in a New Light – The Illumination of the Sayn Iron Works Foundry

The Sayn Iron Works Foundry has been built in 1830 as a part of a Prussian iron casting facility and with its airy construction of glass and iron it has become a prototype of great architecture within European industrialization.
After years of neglect and decay, it has been rediscovered for its architectural importance as an “iron cathedral”. Where furnaces once spilled out hot iron and where Prussian architect Schinkel has had his iron castings made, is now a cultural monument with elaborately restored architecture for visitors to enjoy.

To meet the expectations of the versatile utilization concept, a fully controllable lighting design has been developed, using exclusively LED luminaires, accentuating the architecture’s attributes one by one and creating nuanced compositions of the nocturnal edifice.The foundry’s western facade provides the central view along the path the iron once took, up to the back wall where the furnace was located. The illumination is emphasizing the lightness and transparency of the basilica-like layout, causing it to shine from within and contrasting it against the dark mountains from which the iron was once extracted.

On the inside, the lighting concept emphasizes the structures individually, providing the possibility to compose differentiated lighting moods according to the venue’s particular event. The luminaires are mounted along a horizontal plane, underlining the room’s length and geometry and indicating the contrast between the vertical columns and the horizontal roof.In conjunction with the general ambient light, the illumination appears uniform and makes the overall ambience of the venue more open to the visitor, while the metaphor of the red roof remains a formal bracket; although it can be adjusted to any other color as well.

While the central roof is illuminated with linear RGB lights and treated as one single horizontal construction, the back wall is the only wall with direct lighting. It is featured by floor recessed linear wallwashers, thus making it a bright backdrop against the darker iron structure. Additionally, selected industrial features are highlighted by narrow spotlights to lend variation to the orderly array of vertical structures. While the general lighting is provided with a warmer white, these are illuminated in a cooler white, to give a gentle, yet noticeable contrast.Every single mounting position was carefully chosen and each lighting element was thoroughly integrated into the heritage-protected structures. Every single luminaire and accessory is color-painted with a finish matching the iron structure according to monuments preservation constraints. All direct spotlights are equipped with either honeycomb-louvers or snoots to produce a precise and glare-reduced light-distribution.The thoughtful illumination makes the Sayn Iron Works Foundry glow from within, alluding to its former utilization and giving it a warm, yet rugged appearance.