The Planken in Mannheim has been attracting buyers and traders since the mid-18th century when people from all over south west Germany came to shop, take a stroll or discover new things. Today, this 5-kilometre long shopping haven is the premier retail destination in the region as people can peruse large department stores and small boutiques selling everything from international brands to traditional and local produce as well as experience the city’s culinary delights.
A street for people
In 2017, the city launched a comprehensive 2-year public realm strategy to make this pedestrian-friendly street even more welcoming for shoppers, residents, visitors and workers, well into the future. The plan, drawn up by the architects Dr. Holl, featured new pavements, new tram tracks with barrier free stops, special guided routes for blind people and new street furniture to make the experience more appealing and fluid.
The street lights were also replaced to create a more attractive setting after the sun sets to extend dwell time and increase the average footfall of 5,225 pedestrian per hour. The city wanted a contemporary energy-efficient lighting solution that would create a cosy ambiance yet reflect the city’s entrepreneurial spirit.
In collaboration with the lighting designers at licht raum stadt planung, we designed a new luminaire to create a strong sense of identity, improve guidance and access to the retail units and encourage people to linger and use the facilities.
The high-end cylindrical shaped light fixture was inspired by a refined and minimalistic design. They have been fitted with carefully designed LED optics that meet the requirements for safety, security and visibility. They deliver a soft white light (3000K), reduce unwanted light spill and create a warm welcoming ambiance. The smooth protector with a special diffuser reinforces visual comfort at night.
Just over 400 luminaires installed in different configurations light the long pedestrian thoroughfare and junctions. They draw people through, providing gentle and intuitive guidance, so that they feel safe, secure and at ease to continue shopping as natural light fades.
The city is very happy with the new lighting. The contemporary design is authentic to the character of the city and creates an enjoyable experience for visitors after dark, thus driving footfall. The low energy consumption is also helping the city address its environmental targets.