BERLIN – A beautiful balance between elegance and efficiency that engages the senses through the power of its simple, yet nuanced design. Not only do these words perfectly describe the vehicles made by Volkswagen, they also fit the company’s stunning new showroom concept.
Part of a rebranding campaign at the world’s second largest car manufacturer, the updated design is being rolled out at some 10,000 showrooms across the globe. Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, groups of invited dealers got to “test drive” the new retailing concept through Volkswagen Brand Experience Days, an event involving 50 nations, where guests could get a first-hand look at a real replica of a new store.
Accenting the aesthetic features of the harmoniously balanced showroom concept was a lighting design by Markus Axmann of MAXX LICHTDESIGN, who used a collection of CHAUVET Professional Ovation and COLORado fixtures supplied by Hildebrandt Veranstaltungstechnik, which was entrusted with the overall technical implementation.
“Brightness and color temperature were extremely important in reflecting the new design concept,” said Martin Hildebrandt, CEO of Hildebrandt Veranstaltungstechnik. “The show was hosted by many different speakers every day and we had little time for rehearsals. It became clear that the whole light operation had to be done with cues inside a PowerPoint presentation connected with a timecode programmed show. Our lighting designer and Torsten Bauschke, who was responsible for static analysis and CAD drawings, as well as our whole team did an excellent job pulling many different variables together.”
Given the reality of dealing with demands of time and space, the design team needed a group of compact, easy-to-handle fixtures that could be set up quickly. They got this from the 22 Ovation F-915VW Fresnels, 12 Ovation E-930VW ellipsoidals and 28 COLORado Panel Q40 rectangular wash fixtures in their rig.
Soft, even fields of white light from the Ovation units highlighted the automobiles on display, helping them stand out from their backgrounds, while at the same time integrating them visually into their environment. Balancing this effect, was the subtle color washes from the RGBW COLORado fixtures that endowed the entire scene with an engaging sense of warmth.
“Achieving consistent color temperature and obtaining different brightness levels, as well as the ability to choose every color with ellipsoidals and Fresnels were game changers here,” said Hildebrandt. “Not to mention the reduced power consumption, which is a great advantage with these fixtures — ecological but also economical. The show lasted three months, so the reliability of these fixtures was important. We didn’t have to replace a single fixture. Imagine the cost of replacing units halfway through this time!”
At the start of each show, the excitement level was pumped up with a strobe display. “Having ellipsoidals and Fresnels with a strobe DMX channel was a great feature,” according to Hildebrandt. “This allowed us to use our fixtures in multiple ways, which meant carrying less gear.”
Meeting the demands of this show by limiting the amount of gear carried, while also working with tight set up schedules, the design team was nevertheless able to complement the new store design with an appropriately balanced and stylish lighting display, which, like a well-oiled machine (or automobile) performed flawlessly.