SWITZERLAND. Visitors to Switzerland’s largest and busiest railway station, Zürich Hauptbahnhof, will be able to light up the station with their own displays this year. The travel hub has become a visitor attraction in its own right with a custom-designed chandelier – the largest of its kind in Europe.
The seven-metre high, 1800kg chandelier with a diameter of six metres, is now hanging in the station’s main hall, the Wannerhalle, and boasts 23,400 light points.
It was brought to life in 2016 by MK Illumination Switzerland, which won the Swiss Federal Railway tender to produce, install, and animate the massive light concept.
In the 2019/2020 season visitors will be able to draw or write on a touchscreen to activate light points and appear on the chandelier.
The chandelier’s features have evolved through the use of RGB technology in phases year-on-year. For the 2016/2017 season, MK Illumination pre-programmed a number of animated displays that could be played at random by staff at the station.
Over the 2017/2018 season, one of the station’s large-scale information touchscreens was integrated with the chandelier’s animation controls and travellers were then invited to use the touchscreen to create their own animated colour displays.
MK Illumination Switzerland Managing Director Ilyas Inci said: “Swiss Federal Railway had a number of objectives that they wanted to meet. First, they wanted to create something spectacular, a real-attention grabber that would astound and delight visitors in equal measure.
“Second, they wanted to introduce the use of digital processes in a fun and interactive way to sensitise travellers to the inevitable digitalisation of the station in future years.
“The dimensions of the chandelier alone would have attracted attention, but the decision to animate each of its light points individually using RGB technology added to its visceral appeal and helped to meet the digital objectives.”
Marek Kolasinski, on behalf of MK Illumination’s Travel Retail Development Team, said: “This is a classic example of using atmosphere lighting to create a sense of place and to increase traveller satisfaction by offering them something different and interactive.
“The chandelier is unique to Zürich HB, and appears annually, and the incremental changes that are integrated in phases both attract visitors and enhance their experience through the hub.
“From our work in the travel sector, we know that the ‘overall satisfaction’ score of an airport has a direct correlation with average spend per buyer, and although our research into railways is ongoing, we suspect a similar correlation to emerge with railways.
“Multiply that by passengers per day in a station like Zürich HB, and it’s clear to see it’s commercially prudent to invest in atmosphere lighting.”
Inci added: “Thanks to the technological decisions we made when producing the chandelier, we can continue to add features and functionality in the future that bring people back as visitors as well as travellers.
“We can add music and create a sound-to-light experience, or create an app so that visitors can control the chandelier from their mobile devices, or integrate logos into the chandelier using light points to support events and marketing campaigns.”