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WineBank Cologne

To the north of Cologne's city centre and hidden beneath a series of buildings constructed in the Wilhelminian style (a period between 1890 and 1918 in the reign of Emperor Wilhelm II), stands a spacious 2000 m2 arched cellar that resembles an old bank vault.  
Even if it initially looks like a film set, this space is actually used for events and showcasing the fine wines the wineBANK franchise offers at its various locations around the world. Barred 'safety deposit boxes' that allow the bottles inside them to be seen can be hired by customers for storing their private wine collections, so they are always ready to be uncorked at celebrations and meetings with friends.     

For the Frey brothers, who invented this format, the real challenge when designing and constructing this venue, was integrating their concept of space into this solid, historical structure. The lighting design studio, arens faulhaber, then intensified the atmosphere with a lighting system that deliberately avoids any overtly spectacular effects.    
The layout of the different areas is determined by the venue’s historical structure and vaulting. In the centre, the bathrooms and technical areas form a core around which the dining areas are located in a flexible setup that can be amplified as required. All the areas beyond that are used as wine vaults. Special care has been taken to ensure that visitors feel comfortable and can easily find their way around this unusual and highly atmospheric place. And the lighting design plays a key role in achieving this. A staircase leads guests down into this underground world, where Trick luminaires create light lines in all directions on the walls, the vault and the floor as well as leading the way through its wide corridors that open to the left and right into the safe rooms. The light strips that visitors pass through, illuminate the historic, bare masonry on the walls and columns, the original vaults above, and the raised slab support structure that rests on a bed of gravel. In other areas, the texture of the historic masonry is highlighted by the grazing lighting of Linealuce luminaires, installed behind a small guard.  

The weight and magnitude of the pillars supporting the vaults are also underlined by dimmable Light Up recessed floor luminaires.     
Base-installed Palco floodlights have been installed on the vaults, too, and either focus from above on the tasting tables or are carefully aimed to highlight other historical details in the venue.     
The 'safes' in which the wines are stored are distinctive WineBANK features and have therefore been illuminated internally. This adds to the ambient lighting of the vaults that have only been cleaned and not plastered over, so as not to erase their visible signs of the passage of time. 
In all these different ways, the lighting at WineBANK Cologne creates a specific and highly atmospheric scenario that ensures every wine tasting experience is truly extraordinary.   

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  • Year
  • Client
    Andreas Frey 
  • Lighting project:
    arens faulhaber lichtplaner
  • Electrical Engineering:
    Ingenieurbüro Heiming elan
  • Photographer
    Jens Kirchner