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857,472 LED’s in Greeting

The media wall at the Elbphilharmonie main entrance.

So konzipiert, dass sie die Besucher schon von Weitem förmlich in die Elbphilharmonie hineinzieht.

Herzog & de Meuron

If you've already taken the escalator through the Tube leading up into the Elbphilharmonie, you will have seen the media wall. Made up of no fewer than 857,472 LED’s, it shows digital artworks on a display measuring 18 x 5 metres, plays animation sequences and high-resolution films, and offers a playful introduction to the building’s architecture.

»Visible from far away as a brightly-lit slit, the LED display is an element of the building's overall composition and was designed to literally pull visitors into the Elbphilharmonie« – thus Jan Christoph Lindert from architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. »The constant moving picture and the changing light awaken people’s curiosity and fill them with a sense of anticipation, and also clearly mark the entrance area.«

LED-Wand im Eingangsbereich der Elbphilharmonie
LED-Wand im Eingangsbereich der Elbphilharmonie © Nicolai Spieß

One striking architectural element that visitors encounter when they walk into the foyer is the glittering glass discs. These circles of glass – the size of dinner plates –are set in the walls and ceilings of the entrance area and of the Tube, reflecting the light and thus creating a special feeling of space.


The discs are picked up and brought to life on the LED wall: the shiny circles change size in the animation, coming across in 3D or mingling with other shapes, with lines straight or curved, with ovals and patterns of dots likewise derived from elements of the architecture. When the visitor strolls through the building later on, he’ll find them everywhere: in the windows, on the walls, in the foyers and in the concert halls themselves. As an extended part of the architecture, the LED display takes up the building’s aesthetic character and translates it into a dynamic entity.

Installation zum Festival »Rising Stars« an der LED-Wand im Eingangsbereich
Installation zum Festival »Rising Stars« an der LED-Wand im Eingangsbereich © Nicolai Spieß
Eingangsbereich der Elbphilharmonie
Eingangsbereich der Elbphilharmonie © Nicolai Spieß

The media wall also has a practical function: it advertises current events in the Elbphilharmonie. A digital »news ticker« shows what’s on that evening in the Grand Hall and the Recital Hall. Thematic festivals like »Rising Stars« or »Salām Syria« are also visualised on the LED display by means of motifs and colour moods.


In addition to the architecture-related primary installation, the LED display also presents media artworks produced specially for the Elbphilharmonie video wall. This offers different artists a platform to show their work in cooperation with the Elbphilharmonie. Thus the LED video wall is also a display window for contemporary media art.


The Elbphilharmonie works in close cooperation with media artist Thorsten Bauer to develop and curate the media content. Bauer is a freelance consultant and designer and the founder of URBANSCREEN, a collective that designs and produces media art and presents it at special locations. To mark the opening of the Elbphilharmonie, he designed the first media artwork for the wall, and is also responsible for the production and dramatic structure of the architecture-oriented primary installation.

More about media artist Thorsten Bauer and his Grand Opening installation