Nothing less than the best – achieving the optimum ambience


Till Schneider and Michael Schumacher

In 1988, after graduating from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and the College of Art in Frankfurt Till Schneider and Michael Schumacher founded their architectural practice schneider+schumacher in Frankfurt. Today the practice has a team of dozens of employees and studios in Vienna (Austria), Tianjin and Shanghai (China). The firm’s scope of work comprises architecture, building and project management, parametrics and city planning. Examples of their work include the extension to the Städel Museum, the renovation of the Silver Tower in Frankfurt, the FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research) international accelerator facility in Darmstadt, and Mannheim town hall. In addition, they are also active in the field of product design. In collaboration with Regent, schneider+schumacher developed the Lightpad free-standing luminaire, which recently received the German Design Award 2016.


You are both renowned architects and have worked on a wide range of projects. What relationship do you have to light?

Light creates the atmosphere in a space and has an enormous impact on the way we perceive the spaces we use. There is no such thing as THE solution for all applications. Finding the right light for a restaurant, an office or a residential space needs careful planning – these are all different applications that require different user needs to be addressed. And as a result, they require completely different lighting solutions. 

Lightpad is a luminaire for interior application that you developed for and together with Regent. How did this collaboration come about?

Regent invited us to take part in a design competition and we won first prize. Together with Regent, we developed the Tweak range of free-standing luminaires – originally designed for fluorescent lamps. The new Lightpad is designed solely for LED light sources. The idea with Lightpad was to create a luminaire that, although positioned in the peripheral areas of an office space, delivers light to the entire space and therefore supports the flexibility required when it comes to new working environment concepts. We have developed a product that is based on this very principle. We enjoy and appreciate working with Regent: as a company, they have a wealth of technical know-how, and to that we can add our experience in the design and high-precision development of the product. 

What qualities of the Lightpad luminaires convinced the jury when deciding to list it as a German Design Award 2016 winner?

It is probably best if we quote the jury directly: they underlined the high flexibility and the light quality the luminaire delivers. The jury also praised the precision craftsmanship and the quality of lightness and elegance that Lightpad adds to the atmosphere of the space.

Do you think that the design of a luminaire can alter our perception of interior spaces?

The choice of luminaire is always an integral part of our design process, because every light source contributes to the general feel of the space. At the same time, it is essential to take into consideration from which direction the daylight is coming, how much incident daylight there is, and to what extent the spaces are occupied over the course of the day. In the Poseidon office renovation project we were commissioned to work on we designed a dual-function solution: lighting that could be used at individual workstations or switched to illuminate the overall office space. This was to ensure the user’s feeling of well-being during his/her working hours, and to allow the lighting level to be adjusted flexibly to suit varying needs.

Interview conducted by Alexandre Arène
Published in Lumières No. 18