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Caves, Hidden Beauty
Centuries ago miners searched for gold and silver in the Thüringian Slate Mountains in Saalfeld. After the discovery of alum shale, mineral indispensable for the processing of alum and vitriol, the area was excavated and large underground caves were created. Left untouched after they were closed, the mines slowly filled with colourful stalagmites and stalactites. In 1914, the present day fairy grottoes were opened to the public as an exhibition mine.
While the natural mineral formations were impressive, lighting the dark, subterranean spaces of the caves presented challenges. Previous lighting was inefficient, created an industrial feel and produced flat, monotone colours, failing to show the full, true beauty of the grottoes.
Lighting artist Rolf Zavelberg chose Soraa GU10 LED lamps to illuminate the space to reveal the unseen in the grottoes.
“Our approach is poetry in light, searching for hidden beauty that can be amplified by light and shadow. We want visitors to be in awe of nature’s beauty and creative forces in the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes. There is an artistry in the caves that is only perfectly illuminated with Soraa LEDS,” said Zavelberg, founder of Cologne-based light artistry firm Aktivraum. “There are thousands of variations in single colours that can be seen now.”
Photo Credit: Gordon Axmann | www.aktivraum.com