Entering the flower auction buildings in Naaldwijk, one of four locations for the Dutch company Royal FloraHolland, is a mind-blowing experience. First – it’s the proportions. The airy distribution halls with their fragrant smell of flowers are the size of 11 football fields. Then it’s the logistics. For the 4-5 hours in which the auctions take place, an average of 46.000 pots or buckets of plants and flowers change hands. All these flowers are stored in Naaldwijk from the night before. As the auctions start the flowers are transported to the distribution hall in automotive carts. When the content of the carts has been sold, it is redistributed and taken to the customer’s area on fast-going vehicles. Literally kilometers of flowers pass through the distribution center every day. To the uninitiated eye it appears chaotic, but in reality, it is an extremely efficient system perfectioned over many years.
The auctions themselves are also an intriguing experience. There’s no auctioneer at the site, instead, fourteen “auction clocks” are used. The auction clocks are represented by large screens in the different bidding halls. Some of the bidders are physically present in the halls but an increasing number participate online. Thus, a bundle of flowers can as easily be won by a buyer in Russia as by a local trader. Either way the bidding is done from computers in a system that grants the buyers full anonymity. The benefit of turning up in person is the opportunity to inspect the plants and flowers. The online bidders rely on pictures, quality assessments and judgment sampling.
But the distribution hall is only a part of the Royal Flora Holland complex in Naaldwijk. All in all, the company disposes more than 900 000 square metres here, almost half the size of Monaco. Glamox has supplied lighting for the distribution halls, cooling halls, flower inspection area, offices and more. In addition, we are supplying a lot of the lighting for the Aalsmeer site. Adding up it has probably been more than 80.000 luminaires over the years. The history of the collaborations with the project department in Naaldwijk goes back more than three decades, to a time when both companies were smaller and had different names.
“The history stretches back to 1981 when I had just started working here. Glamox supplied the lighting to the first cooling hall, Aircofleur 1,” says Project Manager and head of the Project department Marcel Toussaint. Toussaint is among other things in charge of the areas that are rented out to customers. The areas comprise halls and office space and are the subject to continuous change as customers grow out of one location and is relocated to another. “The service we get from Glamox is quick and good”, Toussaint says.
Even though the flowers themselves are more sensitive to temperature and humidity changes than to different lighting, finding the right lighting products and solutions for a place like the Naaldwijk complex isn’t straight forward.
“In general, we want products that have a high quality and that require little maintenance. A lot of dust is created in the areas where the flowers and plants are stored. Hence, we need dustproof luminaires. We also need products with good colour rendering so that our customers can assess the quality of the flowers properly, project manager Dennis Harteveld explains.
New times, new lighting
Harteveld’s colleague Frans Tulling, has been with the company since 2002. He has a background in architectural design, but enjoys the opportunity Royal FloraHolland gives him to work with a wide variety of projects. When it comes to lighting, he has seen a gradual development towards more user oriented solutions. Among other things, this has resulted in the implementation of lighting that can be tuned up to 4000 Kelvin.
“Recent research shows that a more complete spectrum is healthier for people. It took some persuasion, but now it seems like people are happy with the results”, Tulling explains.
Although very favorable electricity prices make the economic incentive for replacing conventional light sources small, the company is now opting for a greener alternative by gradually phasing in LED products.
“We work very closely with Glamox to get the right input. Our company is not like any other and it takes time to understand how we work and what we need. That’s why we choose to work very closely with our suppliers. I also appreciate to have someone with the professional authority on lighting behind me when we make decisions about lighting,” Tulling says.
In the Royal FloraHolland maintenance department teamleader Peter Voogt and technician Sedat Sari also have long experience with Glamox products. “We are very satisfied about the way Glamox handle things.
“To us, Glamox stand for quality”, Sari says.
Kemi SnowCastle has attracted winter tourists since 1996. Now it's possible to enjoy snow and ice round the year, as the new main building houses a “snow experience space” with -5°C temperature all year round. The building also provides numerous other services.
”The SnowCastle operates all year and offers versatile restaurant and meeting services. In between meetings, one can drop by the ice room to cool down, to play in the snow or to have a go at the ice slide" says Susanna Koutonen from Kemin Matkailu Ltd.
The main building was opened in March 2019, on the 150th anniversary of Kemi.
Clean white light
The lobby of the two-storey building has a blue reception desk which looks like it's made of ice cubes. The high glass windows in the lobby and the shop windows are decorated with snowflakes.
“The colour temperature of the light in the room next to the experience space is mainly 4,000 Kelvin, which coincides with the snow white of the wall and ceiling surfaces,” says Seppo Penttinen, electrical designer at UpNet Engineering Ltd.
The ice cream parlour serves delicious ice cream sundaes, and the café serves drinks with ice flakes, amongst other things. From the lobby, there are stairs to the viewpoint restaurant which seats 300 people. The ice cream parlour, the restaurant, the café and the spa section are illuminated with Glamox D70 downlights.
"We were already familiar with the Glamox products, and we knew they were first-rate and reliable. The purchasing and the installation of the light fixtures for space was very easy. Everything worked flawlessly", Penttinen says.
The SnowCastle's large kitchen and cooking areas are illuminated with C63 square lights, embedded in the ceiling. "Cooking requires good, glare-free and even lighting. The IP55 enclosure ensures that steam from the kitchen does not penetrate the lights. The surfaces of the lights are also easy to clean. Good impact resistance ensures that the light fixtures can withstand impact so parts of it will not be scattered around the space, ”Penttinen explains.
The ice restaurant in the snow experience space is decorated with a fairy tale castle theme and it's the perfect venue for weddings and other events. "The venue offers princesses their fairy tale castle wedding with an ice sculpted pumpkin carriage and everything", Koutonen says.
Lights as part of the interior
The lights in almost all the areas attached to the main building are connected to the DALI control system.
The DALI system allowed us to create a versatile operating system and the light dimming feature has proved to be very useful. The wall panels and the operating system are equipped with automated settings, such as the northern lights setting which dims the space with a press of a button. The light levels can also be adjusted by hand", Penttinen explains.
”It's important that the lights can be adjusted to suit everyone in the work space. Some prefer to work in better lit areas than others", Koutonen says.
The office space, the souvenir shop and the reception area are illuminated with C90 and C95 module lights. Their clear and minimalistic shape lights every corner of the space. "The light fixtures are also interior elements in these areas and an important part of the architecturally stylish space,” Koutonen continues.
The technical spaces, service rooms and the safari service areas are illuminated with i60 lights. The i80 and i85 lights are fitted to the high ceilings of the maintenance areas and the loading bays. They are extremely durable and efficiently light the work areas.
Clean energy from nature
The experience space is 400 m2 in size and contains more than 100 000 kilos of natural ice.
"Many of our foreign visitors have only seen ice in their cocktail glass. Here they get to marvel at the enormous ice cubes cut from the sea and the river. We are also telling a story about the freezing of the Finnish waters and the clean snow", Koutonen rejoices.
Renewable energy and sustainable energy use are the corner stones of the SnowCastle area operation.
There is a solar plant on the roof of the main building. The buildings are heated with geothermal heating and cooled with geothermal wells. Waste heat is salvaged and used to heat the water.
"Kemi is the first city in Mainland Finland with the ISO 14001 environmental certification. We want to do our share to keep the city green and produce as much of the energy we require as possible", Koutonen states.
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