Pharos takes the circle at Zurich airport to new heights

7th January 2022
James Anstee

Zurich is renowned for its innovation and forward-thinking culture, and this is epitomised by The Circle at Zurich Airport. Housed inside the brand-new boomerang-shaped building is 80,000 sqm of greenery, coupled with what is being coined as a ‘micro-city’.

The 1.3 billion USD complex is within walking distance of the terminals of Zurich Airport, Switzerland’s largest international airport. It is also a mere 10-minute train ride from Zurich city centre. Designed by Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto, The Circle is expecting a staggering peak of 150,000 visitors per day, particularly once all travel restrictions are lifted. 

Lighting designers Loop Associates were brought into the project and briefed to make the journey to and through The Circle a seamless one. This was achieved using warmth, clarity and harmony between the different areas of the structure. Their vision ensures the lighting is a key component of the overall design and experience, acting as a point of connectivity between the different buildings, as well as guiding and directing visitors through the narrow streets between the structures. 

Pharos’ Swiss partner ERVOTECH AG were appointed as the lighting control and LED solutions provider for the project. To fulfil the control elements of the lighting scheme, ERVOTECH AG specified a range of solutions from lighting control experts Pharos Architectural Controls. 

Discussing reasons for selecting Pharos for this project, Erich Vogt of ERVOTECH AG said: “When it comes to control, there are no solutions better than Pharos. The quality, flexibility and future-proof design of Pharos control systems ensure a seamless and high-tech solution. This is exactly what The Circle needed.” 

A Pharos LPC (Lighting Playback Controller X) X and RIO (Remote Input Output) 80 are operating as the master controls for the whole lighting system. Each 3-metre long part of the system has RGBW indirect, RGBW direct and a maximum of four downlights. Each of these are independently controllable by the Pharos solution. The whole system, in fact, consists of 121 independent parts, fed from eight different points and controlled via Art-Net.   

The award-winning LPC X from Pharos offers superior levels of power and integration, ideally suited to architectural and landmark lighting installations, such as The Circle.    

The Circle required significant channel counts due to the scale of the project. The LPC X not only delivers on this, but can integrate with the full suite of Pharos Designer solutions and offers an optional real-time video input to further futureproof the project. 

The Pharos RIO 80 provides a convenient and scalable way to add inputs and outputs to a Pharos Designer system for show control and integration. The RIO 80 specifically offers 8 digital/analogue inputs and a serial interface for RS232 or RS485, or DMX output.  Mark de Gruyter, Regional Manager EMEA, from Pharos, said: “The Circle is an incredible project that breaks the mould of airport facilities. Being within walking distance of the airport terminals makes it perfect for travellers, and the proximity to the city centre and its transport links gives it an enviable position for office working.  “The high levels of control offered by the Pharos system enabled the lighting design to meet its brief of infusing a sense of harmony between all areas of The Circle. The controls allow for fluidity of lighting, as well as aiding with direction of travel and safety when moving between the buildings.”  Energy efficiency and environmental impact has been considered throughout all aspects of the development and build of The Circle. The micro-city has achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) PLATINUM; the highest standard awarded by the LEED. The award covers a wide range of areas including sustainable construction, water efficiency and indoor environmental quality. 

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