In November 2018 UFO Lighting were given the opportunity to work with Mack Solutions, the creative team behind one of Europe’s largest theme parks, Europa Park. The project in question was the refurbishment of the Fjord Rafting Rapids ride which had been partly destroyed by a fire in the summer of 2018. The ride had been operational since its creation in 1991, but the fire destroyed its tunnel element along with the adjacent Holland and Scandinavia themed areas. In the peak of the summer Europa Park worked quickly to re-open the popular water ride, and only 2 weeks after the fire they achieved this, but this time without its tunnel. The design team from Mack Solutions soon got to work and started to plan a new tunnel.
The team led by Chris Lange (Creative Director) and Daniel Kerscher (Designer and Art Director) created a new concept for the tunnel. Themed around Scandinavia the new tunnel incorporates a story about a mystical troll wizard who casts a spell and illuminates a magical glow worm ceiling.
Ryan Lawrence, lighting designer at Mack Solutions, approached UFO with the concept of the glow worm tunnel. Ryan faced two major challenges. Firstly, he would need to install durable themed lighting into a wet cave environment in a water ride. Secondly, thousands of lights, taking the appearance of glow worms, would need to be integrated into a concrete “rock” ceiling without them breaking. This would present a challenge for some conventional lighting products, but not for the robust flexibility of fibre optic lighting.
Construction of the new tunnel commenced at the start of the parks closed season in January 2019, under the guidance of Project Managers Christoff Zimmerman and Lisa Padding.
The tunnel, at 48m long and 4.3m high started off as an empty steel building. Our fibre optic harnesses were one of the first things to be installed. This was so the rockwork contractor, Universal Rocks could build their supporting structure and the lighting installers, Bentin Projects could still access the fibre.
Once Universal Rocks had completed their structural work and added the black mesh that the concrete adheres to, the fibre optics could individually be pulled into position, ready to be concreted over. Due to the fibre being sheathed with PVC, any mess created by the concrete was no problem.
As soon as the rockwork was dry and painted the fibre could be trimmed and stripped of its PVC sheathing. A team of 5 people then smoothed and piped silicone onto the fibre to diffuse the light and create the glow worm shape.
UFO’s Nova RGBW light sources were chosen and installed on the outside of the cave, housed in weatherproof enclosures to keep them dry. Each of the 9 light sources powered 350 tails of fibre to give a total of 3150 light points, using 32,050 metres of fibre.
The RGBW Nova Light source was selected as it offered DMX control, essential for the control of the overall special effects, and provides a great output over the long distances involved between the remote light source location and the lighting feature. The Nova has proven to be a popular light source for projects around the world and is used to illuminate everything from chandeliers to swimming pools as well as other theme parks.
This year UFO also launched the new Sirius IP67 light source and have further IP rated products in development for use in wet areas, which will prove to be a huge benefit to the theme park industry.
From design to completion the project took just 10 months to complete, with the physical construction element of the project completed in just 3 months.
Theme Park Lighting
Light Sources: Nova RGBW LED light sources
Fibre: 3150 tails of sheathed PMMA fibre - total of 32050 metres