Churches and ecclesiastical buildings demand highly sensitive lighting design. The lighting concept of the building must specifically accent decorative elements and also lend the building an unmistakable appearance.

This was also the requirement for the St. Bonifatius Church in Frankfurt am Main, that with its expressionist style of construction presented a further challenge for architects and lighting designers. The Church of St. Bonifatius is located in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen, was designed in 1922 by Martin Weber and inaugurated in the year 1927.

The emotional construction by Weber is a preliminary representation of the new architecture in Frankfurt that achieved global recognition in the twenties and thirties of the nineteenth century, and is deemed to be the most important expressionist ecclesiastical building in Hessen.

Seen from the outside, the church construction originating in the industrial era  appears angular and linear, with the red bricks giving the building the appearance of a protective castle.However, the strong wall surrounds an unusual interior which certainly surprises. When the heavy double-wing doors open, visitors discover a high domed structure 

creating an overbearing feeling of space. The lighting design for the interior demanded a corresponding level of sensitivity. Both the State Conservation Agency and the heritage representative of the Catholic Church agreed to the extensive lighting concept that complies with demands for both an emotional atmosphere and everyday use.

The architectural lighting serves to highlight the high round arch and the presbytery that is the centre of attraction. Warm white-cool white lighting and the use of coloured light enables many different spatial lighting situations that can be adapted according to the occasion. 

Luminaires can be programmed singly via tablets or PC, with 12 pre-installed light sequences for specific occasions, and this high level of planning flexibility provides simple operation of the mature system to optimally emphasise the architecture of the church building. The project was awarded the "Cultural Buildings" lighting design prize in 2015.

Project information

  1. Lighting planning:
    Cybulska + Partner, Frankfurt a.M., www.cybulska-partner.de
  2. Design:
    Herbert Cybulska, Christian Uitz
  3. Completion of lighting design:
    2014
  4. Electrical planning:
    Bhp (Beiersdorf Herzhauser Planung), Frankfurt a.M., www.bhp-ffm.de
  5. Architects:
    haupt freie architekten, Frankfurt a.M., www.hfa-architekten.de
  6. Special luminaires:
    TRILUX
    iGuzzini, Recanati/Italien, www.iguzzini.de