An upturned flower pot without a bottom, a mounted light bulb inside, the whole covered up with a flat glass dish: this device enabled Matthias Strobl to observe all details and movements of a salad vinaigrette on the living room ceiling. Not very bright and a bit blurry, but in color. The invention spread a cozy and relaxed vibe. Friends who came to visit could not tear themselves away from the sight of the bubbles and granules moving slowly in the liquid and stimulating free association. The first lightmotiv projector was born in the first night lab, the living room of Matthias Strobl, and with it the idea of spreading these luminous designs. At parties, the varying ambient lighting was very well received, e.g. for the areas where people meet for a chat. lightmotiv created a kind of campfire romance, a focal point that brings people together.
1998 - The Development of the lightmotiv projector
Over the year several variants and improvements for the projector were developed: A stirring device from model construction accessories for mixing the projection liquid was installed, as well as a blinded glass table as a projection surface, showing sharper and brighter images. In these days all kinds of companions and friends took place at this „projection table“, creating ideas of how to start off something with this new type of object and its pictures. A free association formed itself, consisting of people from technology, art, events, programming, advertising, photography, sociology, chemistry and biology, who could hardly find space in a living room.
The founding of the tnl GmbH
1999 - An expectant mood began to spread and a core group decided to found the TNL GmbH and accept the challenge of binging this idea into the world. After the lightmotiv projector was registered for a patent, the search for capital could safely begin. In November 2000 the TNL GmbH - Design und Illumination was entered the commercial register Bielefeld.
The development of the Night Lab
After renovating and moving into the premises in the Bielefeld Boge complex, the focus was set to a business model that brought short-term success: Illumination of parties in nightclubs and at festivals as well as first appearances at promotions and urban cultural events. In 2001 TNL's first moving image facade projection took place on the occasion of the “Popkomm” trade fair in Cologne. In 2002 a small series of ten improved lightmotiv projectors was created, which were used to project onto the facade of the Kunsthalle Osnabrück at the European Media Art Festival. The purchase of video projectors and LED technology increased the capacity for larger rooms and events running in parallel. At the same time, there was a new awareness of the future need for visual content for video systems and permanent installations in restaurants, hotels, and retail. Partnerships with artists and production companies were committed and a network for contemporary visuals was formed. The first panorama projection for "Lights in the Harbor" was realized in Cologne this year. In 2003, resources were pooled to create a future-oriented business model: light installations for atmospheric room design. The first wellness illumination by TNL was implemented in the Liquidrom in Berlin. For the first time the lightmotiv projector went on long journeys, namely to Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, and Saint Petersburg.
Projections for interior design
"How could the guests on a cruise ship be offered a different feeling of space?" wondered the shipyard Meyer Werft. "With light!" TNL answered in 2004 and created an impressive scenery with projections in the theater of the crusader "Jewel of the Seas".
Light and multimedia control systems
Atmospheric lighting design clearly became TNL´s field of operation, temporarily and permanently installed. In addition, TNL started to produce visual content. In 2005 TNL was in charge of the installation and control of the video technology at Toskana Therme Bad Schandau as well as the associated contents of the Liquid Sound® areas. Up-to-date technology made it possible for all variable room parameters (such as light, temperature, content, music, mobile parts) to be controlled centrally. The ambitious challenge was to create a feel-good atmosphere with the elements of illumination, acoustics, climate, fragrance, and projection technology.
TNL – Illumination on events
The opening event of the Laureus Sports Award in 2005 was a real milestone in the company`s history of TNL compared to the previous event projects. The challenge: To illuminate a complete location with enormous technical effort in which one has never been before. As expected, everything worked very well and it was a great feeling to illuminate an event visited by the King of Spain and various sports celebrities.
Luminosity with projections
The event division was strengthened in 2006 with two powerful lightmotiv projectors, which could now cover projection areas of over 100 meters. These machines were used at the "Pink Floyd Show" in Germany, at the Forum - Universal de las Culturas in Mexico and at the Oetkerhalle in Bielefeld to carry out analog projection mapping.
Wellness: Wellbeing with light
Successful lighting installations in spas delight visitors and save power. Since 2007, more and more thermal baths have made use of this knowledge. Fog projections, dome projections, interactive floor projections, and LED floodlights were installed by TNL on over 4000 square meters in Bad Schandau. Atmospheric lighting design attracts people. The thermal bath company is happy about good visitor numbers and a high “retell value”.
Lightmotiv wins gold medal
December 2009, Florence. The lightmotiv projection was awarded the gold medal of the Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte Contemporanea. The 7KW large screen projections were used for the now award-winning analog projection. After 10 years the "flower pot idea" received artistic recognition.
Facade projection Bellevue Palace
In 2011 Schloss Bellevue was illuminated with organic lightmotiv projections as part of the Federal President´s summer party. The audience was impressed by the natural aesthetics and dynamics of the gigantic oil bubbles and color gradients. As usual with lightmotiv, the image quality was fascinating: no pixels, no flickering, no blurring. A light shell of microcosm coating one of Germany's most famous buildings.
Multimedia installations on the next level
The year 2012 was marked by increasingly complex and demanding challenges in the field of projection. TNL faced the task of making the projector as the output medium invisible through precise planning and implementation. The expertise in the field of control technology and audio have also been significantly expanded. With Dormero Hotel Stuttgart, a customer was won who not only commissioned huge panoramic projections with invisible projectors in a conference room, but also 250 projectors for the hotel rooms. In addition, a multimedia installation has found its way into the "Whitelounge" of the Dormero Hotel Stuttgart, the complexity of which was unique in the world at the time.
3D Projection Mapping as 360° panorama with 36 channel surround sound
The exceptional architectonic structure of Dormero Hotel´s "Whitelounge" (complex floor plan, partly round facade, countless details such as balconies, windows, and ornaments) made it difficult to implement a seamless 360° panoramic projection. The creation of the projection grid for the 3D projection mapping as well as the calculation of the room acoustics required diligence and accuracy. The result of this project shows impressively how projections and acoustics can be combined for a new level of multimedia entertainment if brought together with know-how.
Projection Mapping on more than 2,500 square meters
2013 was marked by increasing demand for 3D video mapping, both for events and for permanently installed multimedia installations. TNL had now more than 10 years of experience regarding atmospheric projections as well as fixed installations of sensitive technology in demanding environments, which led to acquisition of several eminent customers. The textile companies Brax and Ahlers were impressed by the incredible success of the video mapping show in the summer of 2012 that there was a follow-up show in 2013. In addition, video mapping shows delighted the visitors of Volksbank Heilbronn (opening ceremony), Gasometer Oberhausen (Extraschicht) and the tranquil community of Hirschhorn, which celebrated a great success with a multi-week projection show on a historic facade during the Christmas season. The highlight this year was certainly the permanent installation at the Culture Palace of Iasi in Romania, which was transformed into a projection surface with about 2,500 square meters on which a Christmas 3D video mapping was shown.
Lighting design as a physical challenge
In 2014 the Bielefeld food manufacturer Dr. Oetker came up with a special gift for the 800-year anniversary of its hometown: a permanent building projection on the huge glass front of the Dr. Oetker World. TNL gladly accepted the challenge of realizing a physically impossible projection on glass, and the congratulations from light were viewed by hundreds of citizens every evening. Another ambitious project was waiting for TNL with the new building for the insurance group LVM. The star architect Duk-Kyu Ryan envisioned an indirect illumination of the supporting elements of the glass tower that emit no stray light. With specially manufactured, extremely compact LED strips, this requirement for column illumination could also be met to the fullest satisfaction. In addition, the Munich-based electrical appliance manufacturer NEFF thrilled its visitors with a unique 360° panoramic 3D video mapping show with which the new oven series was officially presented. The historic hall of the Kaiserpalais became the center of a highly innovative production.
Video mapping becoming more and more popular
In 2015, besides other custom-made LED illuminations (chancel of a church, wellness areas), there were also a large number of video mappings, including productions for breweries, furniture manufacturers, and the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, which inaugurated its new building with a 3D facade projection. More than before TNL was asked to produce 3D animations as the winter show for the Palace of Iasi. In addition, TNL deepened its expertise in the automation of projections, which significantly expanded the possibilities of 3D video mapping: A facade-specific 3D Advent calendar was produced for Media Markt, which was characterized by automatic processes with daily changing content.
Object-specific 3D projections as a marketing trend
The trend to achieve advertising effects with projection increased. Whether company facade, exhibition stand or exhibition piece, the radiance of projected augmented reality is used. In the area of UX Design, TNL developed a cabinet configurator for Musterring’s in-house exhibition in 2016, which could be interactively operated by the public and always showed new surfaces. A mapping on a mannequin for the clothing company Gore presented their products in different weather conditions. Facade projections, e.g. for the Stadtwerke Dusseldorf, and a flexible pop-up projection solution for Manchester City FC were demanding challenges in the field of advertising projection.
Creative agency TNL
In 2017, the signs pointed to development. For the Leibniz University in Hannover, TNL did a lighting calculation and based on this, developed a design luminaire with LED technology for outdoor lighting. Creative services such as the creation of projection content, case studies, proof of concepts as well as visualizations became even more of a daily business. Zalando commissioned 3D simulations for the logo projection at the new headquarters in Berlin. For the light art project Silent.Mod, TNL, as a 3D motion design agency, carried out a feasibility analysis of the planned lighting projects and was then able to implement a 3D video mapping on the portal of Cologne Cathedral.
Artificial light / Light art
In 2017/2018, there were further projection projects in the field of performing arts. Theater projections were realized for the open-air theater Tecklenburg and the cathedral festival in St. Blasien. The projected content created impressive dramaturgical effects as a set design. For the Hermannsdenkmal, Germany's tallest monument, TNL produced a precisely fitting 3D projection mapping for the third year in a row. During a historic 3D video mapping for Maretsch Castle in Bolzano, the murals from the interior were brought to life and animated as characters of the show. With a 360 degree projection show inside a wind turbine on the subject of renewable energies, TNL is contributing to the substantive discussion of the energy transition. In addition, Matthias Strobl devoted himself to the teaching profession. With his knowledge and many years of experience, he leads workshops on 3D video mapping and is in demand as a speaker.
Interactive 3D Projection mappings
The tendency to expand 3D video mappings with the feature of interactivity led to two projects. In Berlin, a website was projected live on the steeple of the Evangelical Church of Reconciliation. The participation of the community members in the contents of the website was very extensive. In Herford, the reopening of the town hall was celebrated with a video mapping. The inhabitants were able to transmit their photos digitally and became part of the projection.
Projections for major events
The year 2019 is dominated by major events. For the handball world championship in Cologne, TNL installed a 3D video mapping at the Deutzer train station. At the same time, a court mapping was realized for the BR-Volleys in Berlin. An immersive panoramic projection for the Grand Opening of the European Congress of Radiology with site-specific projections on walls, ceiling, stage, and a sculpture is probably one of the most spectacular light installations in the congress industry.
2020 was special: In the year of TNL's 20th anniversary, the world was confronted with a pandemic. Everything quickly turned out to be different than planned: projects were canceled or postponed indefinitely. After a moment in a vacuum, new formats emerged: For VW and McDonald's projections were produced exclusively for media use in the middle of the lock-down. The Schlosslichtspiele Karlsruhe decided to take place digitally this year, including the show „Attitude Indicator“ by TNL. The trend to carry out projects outside and at a distance continues: 3D video mappings were created for the Waldkliniken Eisenberg and some cities such as Leipzig and Innsbruck.
Live and in color
The year 2021 developed excitingly. For TNL, this meant above all projections in large dimensions and with a statement. At the Schlosslichtspiele Karlsruhe the show produced in 2020 celebrated its live premiere. During the World Cup, striking buildings were bathed in rainbow colors for Anheuser-Busch InBev Germany Holding GmbH in Munich and for E wie Einfach in Cologne. On the occasion of the IAA, the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs was transformed into a 120 meter wide screen for a panorama projection including a 3D hologram, which showed a site-specific show on the topic "Future of Mobility". In addition, illuminations were implemented as part of the celebration year "1700 years of Jewish life in Germany" for the Cologne University of Catholic Theology and for the 80th anniversary of the Riga deportation in Bielefeld. The cities of Meppen, Neustadt am Rübenberge, Wesel and Innsbruck told the story of the city with large-scale light installations on facades. Tommy Hilfiger and CocaCola sent Christmas wishes to the world with projections from TNL.