Zumtobel opens HQ for Light.Live event

Image: Nina Bröll, courtesy of Zumtobel Group

(Austria) – On Tuesday 24 May, the Zumtobel Group opened the doors of its Dornbirn headquarters for its largest Light Forum to date. Around 400 visitors from across Europe and MEIA travelled to the Austrian town to take in the 4,000sqm Light Forum, see the latest innovations from across the Zumtobel Group, and celebrate the winners of the Zumtobel Group Awards 2021.

Alongside guided tours of the Light Forum, the audience was offered a range of keynotes on sustainability and design trends, as well as workshops on sustainable architecture, light pollution, digital services, and light as infrastructure to promote a discourse regarding relevant future issues in the industry.

Opening the day’s festivities, Zumtobel Group CEO Alfred Felder, and Jürg Zumtobel, Former Supervisory Board Chairman and CEO, welcomed guests to the space, inviting them to view the wide scope of Zumtobel Group offerings on show across the Light Forum, from across its Zumtobel, Thorn and Tridonic brands. Each brand had its own space, with areas dedicated to workspace, retail, exterior, industrial and emergency lighting, as well as an immersive artwork from James Turrell. The Forum also highlighted 30 years of Zumtobel Group’s Annual Reports, in which the company has partnered with renowned architects and designers from around the world.

Sustainability was very high on the agenda for the event, with a keynote presentation from Sebastian Gann, Group Sustainability Director at Zumtobel Group breaking down the ways in which the company has increased its sustainability efforts. Meanwhile, in a workshop session entitled “A discourse on the contribution of light to sustainable architecture”, Herbert Pamminger and Carina Bucholz discussed the connection between energy efficiency and sustainability, and whether the two are synonymous with each other.

Elsewhere, one of the highlights within the workshop programme was an informative session on the importance of dark skies. Introduced by Eliot Horsman of Thorn Lighting, Dan Oakley, Lead Ranger of the South Downs National Park Authority explained the work that he does to improve the dark skies in the South Downs, before highlighting how lighting manufacturers and customers can take action to provide lighting solutions that balance human and environmental needs.

The centrepiece of the event, was the presentation of the Zumtobel Group Awards 2021. The sixth edition of the company awards continued the focus on key industry topics, with the winners across three categories – Buildings; Urban Developments and Initiatives; and Innovation – centred on future-oriented developments to improve the quality of life and sustainability in the built environment.

The winners were selected by an international, interdisciplinary jury comprised of Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Snøhetta Architects; Tobias Nolte, Certain Measures; Ian Ritchie, ritchie*studio; architect Dorte Mandrup; and Isabel Zumtobel, Head of Arts & Culture at Zumtobel Group.

The La Borda Housing Cooperative by Lacol, an architecture cooperative form Barcelona, Spain, was recognised in the Buildings category. Whole Block Outcomes: Rehabilitating Baltimore by the initiative Black Women Build won in the Urban Developments & Initiatives category, while the Special Prize for Innovation went to the Circular Construction Lab of Cornell University, USA, for its RhinoCircular software tool.

In the afternoon, a panel discussion took place with each of the award winners, as well as the jury. The discussion covered the topics of collective living, affordable housing, and circularity – each of which were addressed within the award-winning projects. 

The day’s events ended with the presentation of trophies to the three award winners. Alfred Felder, Karin Zumtobel-Chammah, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board, the jury, and curators Kristin Feireiss and Hans-Jürgen Commerell of the Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin were present on stage, with the ceremony led by Natalie Kreutzer, Editor-in-Chief of the Zumtobel Group.

“The Zumtobel Group Award, with its main emphasis for innovation in humanity and sustainability in the built environment, is more relevant than ever,” said Isabel Zumtobel. “We had so many valuable contributions and I want to thank them all not only for their participation within the Award, but also their contribution to making our world a better one. My sincere congratulations go to the three winners.”

Following the awards presentations, the event concluded with food, drinks, and live entertainment, giving guests a final chance to enjoy the Light Forum experience.

Alfred Felder said of the event: “With the Light Forum in Dornbirn, we made a sustainable investment in this group location and created a unique place of exchange and co-working. It provides an ideal framework as a venue for events such as Live.Light. Being able to show customers and partners the Zumtobel Group’s broad brand spectrum in person again and to provide immersive light experiences is a highlight in the Light Forum’s young history, and many more will follow.”