Following an evaluation of its activities to date, the Foundation is committed to bringing a sharper focus to its support and promotion activities in public urban spaces. These activities can be assigned to the individual core themes of the Foundation – light, green or developed space - or simultaneously to more than one of these themes.

Round Success

Illumination trial an all

The „Lebendige Stadt” Foundation and Hamburg-based light designer Michael Batz created a dramatic illumination display on the bank of the Rhine in Cologne.

Who would have thought it? The gables and facades of the buildings in Cologne's Old Town district suddenly stood out like beautiful iced cakes in the gentle light. On the evening of September 29, Emperor Wilhelm astride his bronze horse on the Hohenzollern Bridge also took on a new shine. The statue looked as if was illuminated from the inside. The lighting concept has a totally different effect on the trees in front of the Church of St. Kunibert - they took on an almost mysterious air in the subtle light.


It was an evening on which the people of Cologne had an opportunity to rediscover their city. Whole sections of the Rhine panorama were temporarily illuminated to give the city leaders and representatives of committees and institutions like the IG Altstadt interest group to promote the Old Town, the tourism association or the city marketing agency some idea of what a permanent illumination concept would look like. Cologne's Lord Mayor Fritz Schramma enthusiastically described the trial illumination as an important „initial spark”. "We intend to show various parts of Cologne in the appropriate light", says the Lord Mayor.


Dr. Andreas Mattner, Chairman of the „Lebendige Stadt” Foundation, launched the idea for a the „light master plan for the bank of the Rhine” back in March. A plan for the stretch between the Zoobrücke and Südbrücke bridges was developed by the well-known Hamburg-based light artist Michael Batz as part of a project funded by the Foundation. GEW Rhein-Energie AG took care of the technical side of things, providing 95 spotlights for the trial illumination. Batz is meanwhile considered something of a „lighting guru”, and he previously cooperated with the Foundation on the concept for the illumination of Hamburg's Speicherstadt warehouse district.


Now he's turned his attention to the Rhine. "We don't want to use high wattage to bring light to every corner of Cologne", says the lighting expert. "Our aim is to systematically highlight individual buildings and to emphasise the attractions of the city centre panorama." An association is to be set up to organise the practical details and the funding for the illumination concept. "The goal is to create a coordinated and aesthetically pleasing lighting concept for the Rhine panorama while using even less energy than in previous projects", says Schramma. The illumination of Hamburg's Speicherstadt is also a model project in terms of cost efficiency: the hourly cost of lighting the entire city quarter is the equivalent of the price of a packet of cigarettes.


Cologne Association for Illumination of the Rhine Panorama

The well-known Hamburg-based light designer Michael Batz has discovered the potential of Cologne as an „objet d'art” - the Rhine Panorama is the ideal setting for an impressive illumination concept.


In cooperation with Gerhard Kleiker, the manager in charge of public lighting at Cologne's GEW municipal gas and electricity company, Batz is building on the lighting concept developed by the GEW RheinEnergie AG energy company. Trial illuminations are to be staged before a final decision is made on implementation of the various projects.


Individual buildings are being systematically illuminated to highlight the special architectural qualities of the traditional panorama. The softly illuminated buildings of the traditional facade along the bank of the Rhine and the reflections of these buildings on the water transform Cologne into a magical stage.


It is the night-time aspects and perspectives that give a city its true character, and a tailored illumination concept can help to show it in its best light.