“Winter Lights” brighten the nights in Frankfurt’s Palmengarten
The illuminated windows of the bank towers shine brightly in the south, the telecommunications tower with its magenta-coloured top shimmers in the north. In-between lies Frankfurt’s West End, where a magical, mystical world of shapes and colours enchants the visitors. The Christmas season has begun, and so has the season of romantic winter lights. Immerse yourself in the magic on a stroll through Frankfurt’s botanical gardens with Wolfgang Gerhard.
Penguins, fish and a piggy bank
Some 700 spotlights, 18 light objects, and 6 video installations turn an evening walk through the Palmengarten into an experience of festive cheer. Lighting effects can be seen all over the park, allowing the imagination to run wild.
Where in summer, ducks waddle happily across the grass, almost three dozen penguins now march in strict formation along the banks of a stream. Below the rose garden, blue fish swim in the moonlight. Not far away, a runner untiringly tries to toss a coin into a piggy bank. Tall yellow and red tulips almost touch the branches of the trees, and seven snowdrops glisten where their natural counterparts blossom at the end of the winter. Five colourful globes symbolise the five continents.
The trees, plants, and monuments are bathed in glowing colours. The statue of Perseus and Andromeda shines in bright white in front of Christmassy evergreen shrubs and a huge deciduous tree. The hill above the waterfall at the Great Pond changes its colour from pink to violet and back again, appearing almost eerie in the dark. Experimental video installations, often reminiscent of a kaleidoscope view, are projected onto a 15-meter-wide water curtain in the Octagon Fountain – known as a “hydro shield” – as well as onto the outer wall of the Gesellschaftshaus convention centre.
German Design Award for the planners
For the last seven years, the winter lights were designed by Wolfgang Flammersfeld and Reinhard Hartleif from Unna, who will receive the “German Design Award 2020” in the category of “Light Architecture” next February.
A sound installation by Lasse-Marc Riek, composed by the sound artist for the 150th anniversary of the Palmenhaus, can also be heard in the great conservatory. The “Sound Dialogues” combine jungle noises with contemporary rhythms to form a flowing tapestry of sound. Visitors can listen to stories of mysterious creatures and distant lands in the fairytale tent in the gallery.
Find out more about the “Winter Lights” and opening hours until 12 January 2020 (daily, closed only on 24 and 31 December) on the Palmengarten website.
Text and photos: Wolfgang Gerhardt