Sixty-six steps to the water’s edge

An enjoyable maritime atmosphere – Attractive luminaires that withstand coastal weather for the beach stairs in Wenningstedt on Sylt, Germany

A stiff breeze often blows in Wenningstedt on the Sylt island in the North Sea, Germany. Two tourism service projects have recently brought a breath of fresh air to this family-friendly holiday resort. The new terrace stairs have met with a very positive response from locals and guests alike, and a multifunctional area on the promenade now offers space for games, sports and events. These two areas and the beach promenade itself are illuminated by luminaires from WE-EF.

Down to the beach in next to no time

Ball, bucket and, to top it all, sand in your shoes – in childhood days the way to the beach was often laborious. Now ‘small’ guests in Wenningstedt on Sylt no longer have this problem. A slide takes them from the promenade straight to the beach in next to no time. Comprising a wooden construction on steel girders, it bridges the height difference between the cliff edge and the beach with 66 steps and a length of 40 metres. The stairs are an experience themselves with their width of 10 metres and numerous integrated platforms – a total of 400 m2 for sitting on, lingering and, of course, with a first-class view of the North Sea.

Uniform illumination for surefootedness

In the evenings and at night RFL530-SE street and area lighting luminaires provide atmospheric and safe illumination of the stairs; the version with 12 LEDs and 24 W connected wattage has been installed. The poles are attached to the wooden construction with flange plates, and the flat round luminaires are on arms. With regard to light distribution, [R65] lenses were selected to uniformly illuminate the steps and platforms with their asymmetric ‘forward throw’ wide beam.

Four dimming levels for different uses

As the terrace stairs are not simply just a way of getting from A to B, but also a venue for parties and events, a special control system was installed for the lighting. To this end, a four-level dimming switch is integrated in one of the luminaires. The setting made here is then transferred to the other luminaires in master/slave operation. The system usually operates with 30% or 50% of the maximum luminous flux. The illuminance can be increased, for example when the stairs are used as a stand for events on the beach.

Family fun and sporting events

For guests who prefer not to climb the stairs or take the slide, for example because they have a pram or wheelchair with them, the terrace stairs also offer a third option in the form of an elevator. “We are the family area of the island and we want to show that we care about families and are in keeping with the times. The stairs make the way to the beach special for all generations”, writes “Sylter Rundschau”, citing Henning Sieverts, tourism director of Wenningstedt-Braderup.

A further, family-friendly idea recently realised also underlines this claim; not far from the beach stairs, at the start of the promenade, there is a new multifunctional area, which – because it is set a little lower and protected from the wind – is ideal for sports and games. A skateboarding track can be set up or a beach volleyball court, for example. In the winter season it can accommodate a Christmas market or an ice rink.

Consistent design thanks to optical diversity

The multifunctional area is also illuminated by WE-EF street and area lighting luminaires; here, 10 RFL530-SE 24LED 48W were installed. For sports events in particular it was important to avoid pronounced contrasts, especially shadowed areas and glare. For balanced light distribution in the small arena, some of the luminaires are fitted with [A60] lenses (asymmetric ‘forward throw’ medium beam), while others feature [S65] lenses (asymmetric ‘side throw’ streetlighting distribution).

According to Lars Westermann, who is responsible for the project at WE-EF, “the variety of lenses are a highlight of this project because they enable the different demands on distribution to be fulfilled with a uniform luminaire design. There have been RFL530-SE 12LED 12W luminaires from WE-EF on the promenade for several years already, which is why it made sense to use the same type for the beach stairs and multifunctional area for aesthetic reasons.”

Proven robustness

However, not only the quality of light and the design, but also the durability of the poles and luminaire housings played a decisive role in the choice of products. The existing luminaires on the promenade have already proven their effectiveness in the coastal location, i.e., in salty air and high humidity where they are often also exposed to seaspray. WE-EF has developed a special protection concept for this requirement – 5CE corrosion protection, which also ensures a long service life for poles and luminaires near the sea. This material quality convinced those responsible in Wenningstedt. In a nutshell, the RFL530 LED luminaires are a solution that will ensure good visibility for a long time to come – reliable ‘northern lights’ for both the ‘true’ residents of Sylt as well as the island’s short-term visitors.

Principal: Tourism service Wenningstedt-Braderup
Architect of beach stairs: Schlums und Franzen, Westerland
Photos: Frieder Blickle for WE-EF

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