Harry Potter Theatre, Germany

Images: Jochen Quast (Mehr! Theater am Großmarkt) and Studio De Schutter

Studio De Schutter creates an unforgettable lighting experience for the debut of the German Harry Potter and the Cursed Child production in Hamburg, using 3000 Segula fixtures.

Unveiled in 2020, Studio De Schutter’s thespian lighting scheme for the debut of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child production in Hamburg, transformed the industrial event space and former fruit and vegetable wholesale market into a magical experience for the enchanted series’ fans in Germany to revel in.

The Hamburg Mehr! Theatre was extensively rebuilt for the theatrical production, which due to the Covid-19 pandemic, wasn’t able to officially open on its expected date last October. Tasked with the brief by production house Mehr! Theatre am Grosmarkt and Wizarding World, Studio De Schutter had to create a magical light setting in line with the atmosphere of the Harry Potter brand, while simultaneously avoiding competition with the many special effects of the show. Sabine De Schutter and her team fulfilled this brief by creating an experience for visitors using more than 3000 custom light sources from German lighting brand Segula and custom pendants and track spotlights by iGuzzini.

“We designed the lighting with a vintage feel and warm light colour (2200K) with more than 3000 pendant fixtures for this industrial listed building creating a link to London’s Kings Cross Station and Platform 9 ¾,” explains De Schutter.

“The lighting concept is a bridge between the everyday world and the wizarding world, with an enchanted cloud of light guiding the visitor from the entrance pavilion, through the foyers, onto the staircases and into the theatre hall. The guiding light cloud is suspended at different heights, starting at a regular height at the entrance and transition areas but increasing in length in others, with the shortest cable being just 0.3-metres and the longest reaching seven-metres.

“We used a total of 7.5km of cable to create these custom-made pendants, which also had to conform to the fire regulations. However, with extensive research and prototyping of the electrical wires, we found a balance between the technical parameters and minimal design,” she adds.

“The light fittings were also especially assembled for this project. We designed the size and the colour temperature of the LEDs together with the colour and size of the glass.”

One of the biggest challenges the team faced was working within the limitations of a listed building. This hindered the suspension possibilities when creating the light cloud. The team collaborated closely with F101 architects to develop a solution consisting of a steel sub-construction that allowed for the distribution of electrical power and lighting over the entire space.

“Due to the complexity of the structure and the lighting concept, we started working with parametric design very early on in the design process. This allowed us to design a system in which every one of the more than 3000 pendants with 37 different lengths could be located.

The final result fits the space effortlessly and seamlessly, which is how we believe lighting design should work in any space,” says De Schutter.

“The degree of complexity in execution is known only to the designers, whereas the visitors to the space just go ‘wow’ when they see it! That’s Studio De Schutter magic!”

The new proposed date for opening the theatre is due in Spring, but remains dependent on the global pandemic situation.

studiodeschutter.com