It’s not unusual for cities to reconstruct important buildings. But recreating and reinterpreting an entire old town, as Frankfurt am Main has just done, is definitely special – and calls for an opening ceremony to match.

As part of the festive inauguration of the ‘New Old Town’ (28 – 30.September 2018), LED drones play the lead role in ‘Constellations – A Symphony for the Frankfurt Altstadt’ on September 29 at 9.45 pm. Directly over the river Main, our drone choreography combines light displays, specially composed music and spoken passages to pay homage to Frankfurt. The ‘Constellations’ narrative centres on prominent personalities and figures from the city, as well as historical milestones and landmarks.

‘Frankfurt is a place of diversity and contrast that has lived, and celebrated, a spirit of self-assured dialogue for centuries,’ says Atelier Markgraph CCO Stephan Weil, ‘and you can find traces of this richly contrasting urban identity throughout the new Altstadt too. Using next-generation technology, we created an iconographic performance that honours Frankfurt’s cosmopolitan approach in a series of poetic images. As the city’s main artery, the river Main is the ideal stage.’

The sophisticated airborne choreography was particularly challenging because the constellations marked out by the drones had to be identifiable from as many different viewpoints as possible. Against the nocturnal backdrop of the river Main, sculptural light effects from various Sky Beams accompanied the drone formation flights. The production soundtrack reprised the concept of dialogue with a bespoke fusion of classical and electronic music created by Sebastian Hohberg and Jan Mayerhofer (Hoerfeld). Their composition included a fresh take on music by Georg Philipp Telemann, the influential baroque composer who lived in Frankfurt’s Old Town periodically. The embedded quotes were penned by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Altstadt’s most prominent former resident and a passionate proponent of diversity. His is one of the voices in the symphony for a contrast-rich urban identity that is reflected in the ‘Constellations’ narrative.

Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt am Main (TCF)

Overall artistic management:
Atelier Markgraph

Gergana Muskalla & Stéphane Bittoun

Implementation partners:
bright!, Hoerfeld, SKYMAGIC

Brand partners:
Lufthansa, Mainova, Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main

Documentations photos:
Frank Baudy, Böhl-Iggelheim
Kristof Lemp, Darmstadt
Ralph Larmann, Hadamar

More Projects

Frankfurt design originals

The Museum für Angewandte Kunst shows what holds design and architecture together at their core.

Rethinking Cooking

WMF presents ’Moments’ at Ambiente 2015.

Digitally enhanced Live Communication

Mercedes-Benz digitally extends broadcasting with innovative Spidercam and AR technology.