On the occasion of the International Year of Light declared by the United Nations, the Zumtobel Group organised a top-level event at the Dornbirn headquarters as well as at the Bregenz Festspielhaus. 950 guests from 27 countries were invited to attend a program of inspiring lectures, a presentation of product innovations by Thorn, Tridonic and Zumtobel, as well as of the winners of the Zumtobel Group Award.
On 9 and 10 April 2015, the Zumtobel Group made the Austrian Land of Vorarlberg shine at its brightest. There were several reasons to celebrate: apart from the International Year of Light, the company celebrated its 65-year anniversary. The comprehensive programme comprised inspiring lectures from the spheres of art, architecture, science and technology, the world première of the latest product innovations as well as a gala dinner during which the winners of the 2014 Zumtobel Group Award were presented.
Some 950 lighting designers, architects and other customers and partners of the three brands Thorn, Tridonic and Zumtobel came together at the Bregenz Festspielhaus, letting themselves be inspired by a wide range of lectures around the topic of light. Olafur Eliasson opened the cycle with his impressive speech entitled “Light is Life”. In it, the artist focused on the importance of light for individuals, putting his own experience with light in the context of his work that has involved collaboration with Zumtobel on several occasions. Answers in terms of architecture and urban planning regarding city life in the Latin-American region were presented by Hubert Klumpner, co-founder of the Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) architect's studio in Caracas and professor of architecture and urban development at ETH Zurich. The neuromarketing experts of Gruppe Nymphenburg, Dr. Hans-Georg Häusel and Bernd T. Werner, provided some insights into the functioning of the human brain. They demonstrated the ways in which light can be used to activate different target groups, and the options provided by Limbic® Lighting to boost sales. By way of conclusion, Karl Jónsson, IoT architect at Tridonic, the components manufacturer within the Zumtobel Group, dealt with the topic of "The Internet of Things (IoT) and Lighting beyond Light". He put the focus on the technological options of networking and their effects on light and individuals. The wide range of topics presented demonstrates a thorough analysis of the respective technical sphere, at the same time none of the lecturers could tell with any certainty what kind of developments the future will bring.
As a complementary programme, the three Zumtobel Group brands installed a world of lighting experience on 1620 square metres on the premises of the new production bay in Dornbirn. Thorn presented Urba, FleXity, Omega Pro as well as a 3D model of the online application Smart City. Highlights on the part of Tridonic were the ready2mains communication interface and the connecDIM 2.0 lighting management system. With SUPERSYSTEM, TECTON and SLOTLIGHT infinity Zumtobel presented its latest product innovations. Moreover, customers and partners got an opportunity to participate in guided tours through the lighting laboratory and the factory. Architectural tours of Zumtobel projects, of the new Montforthaus Feldkirch, the innovative building 2226 in Lustenau, as well as of the Kunsthaus in Bregenz rounded off the general programme for expert visitors.
One highlight of the Year of Light Event 2015 was the gala dinner at the Bregenz Festspielhaus. In the ceremonial setting of this evening event, the winners of the Zumtobel Group Award 2014 were presented. The Zumtobel Group Award is an architectural award to promote improved quality of life and sustainability in the built environment. By funding this award, the Group aims to stimulate and promote new concepts and developments in the built environment. Hans-Jürgen Commerell, curator of the Zumtobel Group Award from the Berlin-based AEDES Architecture Forum, jointly with Astrid Kühn-Ulrich from the Zumtobel Group, presented the winners in the categories “Applied Innovations”, “Buildings” and “Urban Developments & Initiatives”. They include Arup Deutschland GmbH with the “SolarLeaf” façade system in Hamburg (making use of an innovative photobioreactor technology), Studio Tamassociati Architects from Venice for the Port Sudan Paediatric Centre children's hospital, as well as Elemental from Chile for the master plan for the sustainable reconstruction of the Chilean city of Constitución after the tsunami of 2010.