Projection Technology - The History of TNL


Winter 1997

An upside-down bottomless flower pot with a light bulb inside, the whole covered up with a flat glass dish: This device allowed 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 spreads a cozy and relaxed vibe. Friends, who came to visit, could not tear away themselves 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 %snight lab%s, the living room of Matthias Strobl and with it the idea, these luminous designs would have to be spread. At parties people were pleased to get a varied lighting especially in the areas in which everyone meets to chat.

The lightmotiv Projector - The Story of TNL

1998 - The Development of the lightmotiv Projector

Over the year several variants and improvements for the projector were developed: A stirring device for mixing the projection liquid was installed as well as a blinded glass table, which was used as a projection surface showing sharper and brighter images. In these days a lot of companions and friends took place at this „projection table“ creating ideas of how to start off something with this new object and its pictures. A free association formed itself, consisting of technicians, artists, event managers, programmers, advertisers, photographers, sociologists, chemists and biologists, who now hardly found space in one living room.

Analog Facade Projection Farmhouse in the Village of Deppendorf

The Founding of the TNL GmbH

1999. An expectant mood began to spread and a core group decided to found the TNL GmbH and to accept the challenge to carry this idea in the world. After the lightmotiv projector was applied for a patent, it was riskless to look for funding. In November of 2000 the TNL GmbH - Design und Illumination entered the commercial register Bielefeld. In 2001, the first building projection of moving image by TNL took place on a private house.

Analog Facade Projection at Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche at EMAF in Osnabrueck

The Development of the Night Lab

After renovation and moving in the office space in the Bielefeld Boge complex the focus was set to a business model, which generated money at short notice: Illumination of parties in nightclubs and at festivals as well as first appearances at promotions and urban cultural events.

In 2002 a small series of ten improved lightmotiv projectors was produced, with which projections onto the facade of the Kunsthalle Osnabrück at the European Media Art Festival have been realized. By the acquisition of video projectors and LED technology the capacity extended for larger areas and parallel running events. At the same time a new consciousness arose for the future demand for visual content for video systems and fixed installations in restaurants, hotels and retail. Partnerships with artists and production companies were committed, a network for visual content was formed. In Cologne, the first panoramic projection could be implemented for the event “Lichter im Hafen” this year.

In 2003 the resources to a trendsetting business model were bundled: light installations for atmospheric room design. The first wellness Illumination by TNL was realized at Liquidrom in Berlin. The lightmotiv projector went on outrageous travels to Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and St. Petersburg.

Analog projection as Event - The Story of TNL

Projections for Interior Design

"How could the guests on a cruise ship be offered a different sense of space?" wondered the Meyer Werft / shipyard. "With light!" TNL answered in 2004 and created an impressive scenery with projections in the theater of the crusader "Jewel of the Seas"

Panorama projection in the Theater of The Cruise Ship Jewel of The Seas - The Story of TNL

Light and Multimedia Control Systems

Atmospheric lighting design clearly became TNL´s field of operation, installed temporarily and permanently. In addition TNL started to produce visual content.

In 2005 TNL was responsible for the installation and management of video technology at Toskana Therme Bad Schandau and associated contents of the Liquid Sound ® areas . Up-to-date technology enabled TNL to centrally control all variable room parameters (such as light, temperature, content, music, mobile parts).
The ambitious challenge was the design of a feel-good atmosphere with the elements illumination, acoustics, climate, scent and projection technology.

Sphere Projection in the Thermal Spa - The Story of TNL

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 considering the previous event projects. The challenge: To illuminate a complete location with enormous technical effort in which one has never been. As expected, everything worked out very well and it was a great feeling to illuminate an event visited by the King of Spain and various sports celebrities.

Facade projection Lighting at Laureus World Sports Award - The Story of TNL

Luminosity With Projections

The event business was strengthened in 2006 with two powerful lightmotiv projectors that could now cover projection sizes of over 100 meters. These machines have been installed at the "Pink Floyd Show" in Germany and the Forum - Universal de las Culturas in Mexico.

Static Projection Mapping Projected on Objects at Universal de las Culturas Festival in Mexico

Wellness: Wellbeing with Light

Successful lighting installations spas delight visitors and save power. Using this knowledge more and more spas and thermal baths take advantage of modern light technologies since 2007: fog projections, dome projections, spherical projections, interactive floor projections or LED technology on over 4000 square meters were installed in Bad Schandau by TNL. Successful lighting design attracts people. The operators of Toskana Therme are pleased with good attendance and high retell value.

Sphere Projection in the Thermal Spa - The Story of TNL

lightmotiv Wins Gold Medal

December 2009, Florence. The lightmotiv projection has been awarded the gold medal of the Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte Contemporanea. The 7KW large screen projections were used for now award-winning analog projection. After 10 years the idea of the "pot" got an artistic recognition.

Lightmotiv Winning Gold Medal

Facade Projection Bellevue Palace

In 2011 Schloss Bellevue was illuminated with organic lightmotiv projections as part of the summer party of the Federal President of Germany. The visitors were impressed by the natural beauty and dynamic of the gigantic oil bubbles and color gradients. The image quality was fascinating, as is usual for lightmotiv: no pixels, no flicker, no blurring. A light shell of microcosm coating one of Germany's most famous buildings.

Facade Projection as Analog Large-screen Projection at Bellevue Palace

Multimedia Installations on the Next Level

The year 2012 was marked by ever more complex and demanding challenges in the field of projection. TNL faced the task of making the projector as the output medium invisible by accurate planning and implementation. Similarly, the expertise in the field of control technology and audio has been greatly expanded.

The Dormero Hotel Stuttgart could be won as a customer who commissioned not only gigantic panoramic projections with invisible projectors in a conference room but also 250 projectors for the hotel rooms. In the "White Lounge" of Dormero Hotel Stuttgart a multimedia installation has been introduced, which is unique all over the world in its complexity.

Panoramic Projection at the Dormero Hotel in Stuttgart

3D Projection Mapping as 360 ° Panorama With 30 Channel Surround Sound

The exceptional architectonic structure of Dormero Hotel´s "Whitelounge" (complex structured layout, partly curved facade, countless details such as balconies, windows and ornaments) made it difficult to implement a seamless 360° panoramic projection. The development 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 combine for a new level of multimedia entertainment if brought together with know-how.

3D Projection Mapping as 360 ​​° Panoramic Projection at the Dormero Hotel in Stuttgart

Projection Mapping on More Than 2,500 Square Meters

2013 was marked by increasing demand for 3D projection mapping, installed either for an event for about 1-3 days or as permanent multimedia installation. 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 a number of eminent customers. The textile companies Brax and Ahlers were impressed by the incredible success of the projection mapping show in the summer of 2012 that there was a follow-up show in 2013. Moreover projection mapping shows delighted the visitors of Volksbank Heilbronn (opening ceremony), Gasometer Oberhausen (Extraschicht) and the contemplative community Hirschhorn, which celebrated a resounding success with regard to visitor numbers with a Christmas projection mapping shown on a historic building for several weeks. The highlight this year was certainly the fixed 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 projection mapping was shown.

3D Projection Mapping as Panoramic Projection at the Winter Show in Iasi Palace in Romania

Lighting Design as a Physical Challenge

In 2014 the Bielefeld food manufacturer Dr. Oetker had come 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 welcomed challenge of implementing a projection onto glass that is well-nigh physically impossible and the congratulations made of light was seen nightly by hundreds of citizens.

Another ambitious project was facing TNL at the new construction of the LVM insurance building. The star architect Duk-Kyu Ryan envisioned an indirect illumination of the supporting elements of the glass high-rise that emitting emitted no stray light. Using custom-made extremely compact LED strips this claim for the column illumination could be met to complete satisfaction.

In addition, the Munich-based electrical appliance manufacturer NEFF thrilled its visitors with a unique 360° panoramic 3D projection mapping show which launched the new oven series officially. The historic hall of Kaiserpalais became the center of a highly innovative staging.

LED Facade Lighting on the Glass Facade of the LVM Insurance Tower in Münster

Projection Mapping Becoming More and More Popular

In 2015, there was, among customized LED illuminations (the chancel of a church, wellness areas) and a larger number of projection mappings: productions for breweries, furniture manufacturers, as well as the Fachhochschule Bielefeld, which inaugurated its new building with an eye-ends 3D facade projection.

More than before TNL was in demand to produce 3D animations as the winter show for the Palace of Iasi. In addition, TNL deepened its expertise in the automation of video projections, which significantly expands the possibilities of 3D video mapping: For Media Markt a site individual 3D Advent calendar was produced, which was characterized by automatic processes with daily changing content.

3D Projection Mapping as Facade Projection on the Fachhochschule in Bielefeld

Object-specific 3D Projections as a Marketing Trend

Achieving advertising effects with projection is a persistent trend. 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 in 2016, which could be operated interactively by the trade fair visitors and always showed new surfaces. A mannequin mapping for the clothing company Gore presented their products in different weather conditions. Facade projections, for example for the Stadtwerke Dusseldorf, and a flexible pop-up projection solution for the Manchester City FC were demanding challenges in the area of advertising projection.

3D Projection Mapping

Creative Agency TNL

In 2017, the signs pointed to development. For the Leibniz University in Hannover, TNL performed a lighting calculation and based on this, developed a design luminaire with LED technology for outdoor lighting. Creative achievements such as the development 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. As a 3D motion design agency, TNL carried out a feasibility study of the planned lighting for the art project Silent.Mod and was then pleased to install a 3D projection mapping at the portal of the Cologne Cathedral.

Illumination since 1997

Artificial Light / Light Art

In the field of performing arts there were further projection projects in 2017/2018. Theater projections were realized for the open-air theater Tecklenburg as well as the cathedral festival in St. Blasien. There the projected content created dramatic effects as a set design.

Since 2016, TNL has been producing an object-specific 3D projection mapping for the Hermannsdenkmal, Germany’s tallest monument. In a historic 3D projection mapping for Maretsch Castle in Bolzano, the murals from the interior were brought to life and animated as character of the show. With a 360-degree projection show inside a windmill on the subject of renewable energies, TNL made a contribution to the topic of energy transition.

In addition, Matthias Strobl devoted himself to the teaching profession. With his know-how he leads workshops on 3D projection mapping and is in demand as a speaker.

Interactive Projections Bürgerwindpark

Interactive 3D Projection Mappings

The tendency to expand 3D projection mappings with the feature of interactivity led to two projects. In Berlin, a website was projected live on the steeple of the protestant 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 projection mapping of the citizens. The inhabitants were able to transmit their photos digitally and became part of the projection.

Interactive Projections Herford

Projections for Major Events

The year 2019 is dominated by major events. For the Handball World Cup in Cologne TNL installed a 3D projection mapping at the Deutzer 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 sculpture is probably one of the most spectacular light installations in the congress industry.

Panoramic Projection

Rethinking projection

2020 is special: In the year of TNL's 20th anniversary, the world is confronted with a pandemic. Everything quickly turns out differently than planned: projects are canceled or postponed indefinitely. After a moment in a vacuum, new formats emerge: For VW and Mc Donald's projections are produced exclusively for media use the middle of the lock-down. This year the Schlosslichtspiele Karlsruhe decided to take place exclusively digitally, including the show „Altitude Indicator“ by TNL. The trend to carry out projects outside and at a distance continues: 3D projection mappings are created for the Waldkliniken Eisenberg and some cities such as Leipzig and Innsbruck.

3D Animation Schlosslichtspiele „Altitude Indicator“