Cluster of Excellence CECAD - Cologne

Art and illumination follow a unique concept in the foyer to the laboratory building of CECAD, the cluster of excellence in aging research at the Cologne University.

The opening of the CECAD research center building on the Cologne University campus in May 2013 marked the beginning of unseen possibilities for its clientele – international researchers and specialists in Aging Research. CECAD – Cluster of Excellence Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases. The somewhat clumsy acronym stands for a newly built research center filled with cutting-edge technology and first class equipment. It will play host to some 400 multi-disciplinary scientists from the university, the university clinical hospital and the adjoining Max-Planck institutes working together in the research of the human aging process.

During the planning period by the gmp architectural group and on behalf of the general directorate of Medfacilities Ltd, in cooperation with the Cologne University, the University clinical hospital and supported by the Federal State of North-Rhine Westphalia and the German Federal Administration, a nation-wide "building-art" contest was opened to offer researchers and students a new and inspiring work environment.

The final winners were light planner Frank Vetter (Day&Light Lichtplanung, Munich) and the renowned installation artist Yoshiyuki Miura (Munich), who in a partnership created a three-component art installation of seemingly transparent, floating light spheres catching the visitor's eye along the public student thoroughfare.

Three cubes filled with what looks like a light ball from a distance trick the eye and upon approach dissolve into a multitude of colored light rods forming three-dimensional spheres. Contrasting sharply against the roofed background, the light objects create a sun-like light spot on the floor.

In her presentation, doctor Petra Hesse, director of Cologne's Museum of Applied Arts, describes the light installation that won the first prize in the "building art" contest as follows:

"The result of the prize-winners' cooperation is more than convincing. What we see is not a piece of art added to a completed building but a light-art installation forming an integral component of the architecture. The minimalistic concept creates a strongly enigmatic impression."

An integral part of the impressive light art, BION TECHNOLOGIES' tectum m lamps have been installed on top of the rods in a radial pattern. Collectively, 41 of these low-beaming downlights with a beam angle of 12° and a color temperature of 2,700 K were used per light art object. To prevent blinding, the lamps were recessed by 170mm using a mounting tube, so the observer will not be distracted from the artwork by the lamps' luminous density.


  • Medfacilities GmbH, Köln (www.cecad.uni-koeln.de)


Im Auftrag der Universität zu Köln und der Uniklinik Köln, mit freundlicher Unterstützung durch das Land NRW und dem Bund.


  • gmp Architekten, Hamburg (www.gmp-architekten.de)

Lighting Design

  • Day & Light Lichtplanung GbR, München
  • Frank Vetter  |  Yoshiyuki Miura

Wir danken Herrn Frank Vetter für die Überlassung des Bildmaterials

Solution Provider

  • Alexander Weckmer Licht und Mediensysteme GmbH, Königsbrunn (www.lichtundmediensysteme.de)