KKL Luzern – seating in the famous concert hall given a complete overhaul by Girsberger

Now an architectural landmark of Lucerne, the Konzert- und Kongresshaus (KKL) designed by French architect Jean Nouvel was heralded as one of the top venues in the Swiss music world soon after its inauguration. The concert hall boasts some of the world's best acoustics. Girsberger Remanufacturing has carried out a complete overhaul of the 1,898 seats in the concert hall, which has been in constant use ever since it opened 20 years ago. This season's anniversary concerts can now be celebrated in style.


Bützberg, 24 July 2018

The KKL Luzern is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular contemporary buildings in Switzerland. Its projecting roof facing the harbour on Lake Lucerne links three parts of the building, offers shelter and exudes tranquillity in a tourist hotspot.

As part of a much-needed renovation project, Girsberger was tasked with refurbishing the auditorium seating. After almost two decades of intense use, it was showing visible signs of wear and tear. In addition, the pivot bearings on the folding seats were making audible and disruptive noises. To keep to the tight time-frame, the refurbishment was completed in five stages with double shifts. The aim was to retain the overall appearance of the rows of seats within the architectural context. The new fabric chosen for the seat covers – a hard-wearing velour – therefore had to be dyed the same colour as the existing upholstery. The specialists from Girsberger carried out all their tasks with great care – from computer-controlled cutting using optimized cutting layouts through to upholstering and sewing.

Girsberger Remanufacturing is a relatively new division of the company group. It has set itself the task of refurbishing and restoring existing high-quality furniture that is showing signs of wear – and adding new features where necessary.
In the case of the KKL, for example, Girsberger's engineers constructed a new folding mechanism with a counterweight, as well as seat-board and backrest fittings for the auditorium seating. Additional plastic pivots serve to minimize the unwanted folding noise. In the company's own test laboratory, the new folding mechanism was tested to check its long-term performance and then optimized. To refurbish the seating without disrupting the concert schedule, the seat and backrest upholstery was prefabricated. Instead of stripping the moulded foam to expose the steel frames and then adding new foam, Girsberger mounted the new upholstery modules on a 15 mm-thick plywood supporting plate, in compliance with all fire safety regulations. This achieved a similar level of stability while being more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
Thanks to the use of a mobile workshop, all tasks that generated dust were completed in a container outside the KKL. The upholstery was replaced without any special cleaning operations being needed, which could have had a negative impact on the acoustic wall cladding in particular.
This all goes to show that restoring established furniture is a sustainable concept that offers value retention and, in the case of listed buildings, is actually a requirement.

Media contact

Dorothea Scheidl-Nennemann
Public Relations Manager - Girsberger Group
Girsberger GmbH
Ersteiner Strasse 2
D-79346 Endingen
Tel. +49 (0)162 130 04 57