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.

“A triumph for discreet lighting”

Illumination of ZKM | Center for Art and Media

Karlsruhe Lord Mayor Heinz Fenrich and Michael Batz, a member of the Foundation’s Executive Committee, pressed a button to switch on the artistic facade lighting.


Now, every evening up to midnight, 250 lamps with long operating lives and low energy consumption illuminate the facade of the biggest historical building in the fan-shaped city. The illumination concept was jointly developed by the city itself, the regional state authorities and the “Lebendige Stadt” Foundation. The artistic concept was drawn up by light artist Michael Batz, who describes the project as a “triumph for discreet lighting”: “The illumination does not crowd out the building. All it does is to use light to retrace the intricate contours of the facade.”

The detailed planning phase for the illumination concept lasted more than two years. The temporary trial illumination of the ZKM in November 2003 provided a brief taste of what was to come. The aim of the illumination concept is to achieve a coordinated and appealing lighting effect that literally shows the protected former factory building in its best light during the evening hours. ZKM Director Peter Weibel is delighted with the result: “Thanks to the illuminated facade, the ZKM now also stands out at night. And the lighting adds a totally new dimension to the character of the courtyard.”