Mar 1, 2015 - Building
Cutting Edge Technology Lets a Ceiling Sparkle
The new building for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) houses one of the largest conference rooms in Geneva. The permanently-mounted false ceiling, from which around 1200 spotlights gleam, resembles the starry sky. Which begs the question: How is it possible to conveniently connect and easily maintain these lights? WAGO Contact SA was presented with this technical challenge. All goals — ease of use, time savings, and cost effectiveness — were met by using the WINSTA® Pluggable Connection System.
The brand new conference hall belonging to the World Intellectual Property Organization, which was formally opened in September, 2014, impresses visitors due to its unique architecture. The building, designed by Behnisch, an architecture firm based in Stuttgart, is formed of four distinct yet interconnected polygons. With a floor space of 1600 m2, the building offers terraced seating for around 900 guests. Shape and design materials lend the building a highly representative appearance. The architects created a sculpture that appears to levitate. The largest of the four nested elements, which lend the building a spectacular geometry, actually appears to hover above the ground due to a massive cantilever made of native wood that extends for 35 meters.
As an innovative and groundbreaking structure, WIPO’s new conference hall substantially meets all of the demands that were placed on it regarding sustainability and user friendliness. In order to accommodate sustainable building demands, the architects relied on local wood, natural light, a hybrid ventilation system (both natural and mechanical), and a cooling system that uses water from Lake Geneva in its operation.
Short Construction Time, Easily Accessible Maintenance
One refinement of the modern conference hall is the ceiling, sprinkled with small lights that are reminiscent of a starry night sky. Around 1200 LED spotlights are incorporated into a vaulted wooden ceiling. According to Philippe Coutantic, Project Manager at Félix Badel & Cie SA in Geneva, “The system was supposed to be easy to maintain without interfering with general operations.” The electrical installation firm from Geneva has 150 employees who could handle all of the specialty wiring needed, and gladly took on responsibility for equipping WIPO’s conference hall. The chose a solution from WAGO for the ceiling lighting. The WINSTA® MIDI Pluggable Connection System proved to be especially suitable. This allowed Félix Badel & Cie to maintain the very narrow window of time scheduled for the wiring the building (installation took place within a month), and also to guarantee ease of maintenance in the future, and all at an excellent cost-expense ratio.
Coutantic comes straight to the point, “It was the ideal technological solution.” The functional specifications document contained numerous limitations, and a high electrical output was required to operate each spotlight (at 35 watts apiece). The Project Manager remains convinced, “If we had selected a conventional wiring solution, then the installation would have been difficult to complete and afflicted with problems.” Since experienced electricians are expensive and the schedule was pressing, it was necessary to limit time expenditures to a minimum. With its flexibility and the potential for fast installation, the solution from WAGO satisfied all demands. “By using WINSTA®, the electricians were able to pre-wire the false ceiling. Following the progression of the carpentry work, the DALI lights were connected step-by-step using WINSTA® h-Distribution Connectors,” Didier Rominger, Area Sales Manager Building at WAGO Contact SA, summarizes the advantages of the solution.
Simple and Practical Replacements
The system can be easily maintained, since the entire unit, including illuminant and connection, can be comfortably removed through the installation opening. In order to replace a light, it is sufficient to “unclip” an element from the false ceiling, loosen the pluggable connection, replace the defective light, and reinstall everything. The unit is locked in by a mechanical release, which engages audibly when correctly set. The advantages of the WINSTA® Pluggable Connection System were convincing to the Swiss electrical firm, not only during installation of the lights. The consoles at the approximately 900 seats in WIPO’s conference hall were also connected in the same way. “It was possible to pre-wire the consoles using the WINSTA® system. By using T-distribution connectors, we were able to complete the wiring installation in a very short time,” confirms Rominger.
- WINSTA® MIDI allows for convenient connections and maintenance of the lights.
- By pre-wiring the ceiling for WINSTA®, the time spent on the installation was kept to a minimum.
- Replacing defective lights is practical and safe.
Text: Didier Rominger, WAGO
Photo: WIPO, WAGO