Light and sound bath in Bad Elster

A new German thermal salt spa, Sächsische Staatsbäder, has attracted far more visitors than expected. One reason for this success is the light and sound bath, which, thanks to Epson projection technology, offers visitors a truly special relaxation experience.

Bad Elster – a spa town offering a wide range of cultural activities – extended its resort last autumn with a spaciously designed thermal salt spa. This successful concept combines the art nouveau Albert Bad spa, which was built over 160 years ago, with a newly constructed thermal salt spa. The real coup for the new-build was a salt spring discovered in Elstertal in 2009, a unique treasure that had lain dormant, protected in the earth, for millions of years.

Building work on the thermal salt spa was completed in 2015 and high visitor numbers have been reported ever since - around 50,000 spa guests have have used the new facility. Silvia Sommer, head of therapy and preventive healthcare explains, "We wanted a consistent overall concept, which not only integrated the traditional Albert Bad spa and the new thermal salt spa but that also had clear lines, whilst demonstrating a link to the Vogtland area in much of its detail."


Light and sound bath in the new thermal salt spa

In addition to a sauna world, the new thermal salt spa houses three baths. The light and sound bath is a real highlight for visitors. With its 10% salt content and a water temperature of almost 36 degrees, you can truly leave your worries behind, because the salt causes your body to float easily on the surface. Relaxing film clips projected onto the walls and ceiling as well as sounds that can be heard underwater invite guests to enjoy a very special relaxation experience.

"Each of our salt baths has specific effects on the body and follows a theme – the purpose of the light and sound bath is deep relaxation," reveals Silvia Sommer. "The idea for this bath came about because we wanted to offer our customers an experience with our special salts that appeal to all the senses. The irregular geometry of this space made it a tough challenge to cater to, however."


Projection challenge

The room where the light and sound bath is located is neither rectangular nor white, and it doesn't even have a smooth surface, so it didn't exactly provide the ideal conditions for projection. The bath is approxiamtely 13 x 9 metres at the widest point and three metres at the narrowest point. It is relatively long and tapers conically. The walls are also tiled with light beige structured tiles and the sound-proof ceiling has a structured surface as well.

Since the walls of the spa were exposed with uneven surfaces, the idea of equipping the room with wall and ceiling projectors looked difficult. The contractor thoroughly analysed the possibilities of fitting out this kind of room without distorting the image or reducing quality. After various visual and physical tests had been carried out on-site, it was decided that the Epson projectors alone, with their special wide-angle zoom lenses, would fill the required specifications.

Three Epson EB-G6900WU full-HD projectors were used for this task. They feature various functions such as edge blending and lens shift, which enable irregularly shaped walls and ceilings to be fitted out without distortions.

Each of the projectors is equipped with the ELPLU01 Epson wide-angle lens. These special Epson wide-angle zoom lenses allow ceiling projections from very short distances, when installation space is tight. The projectors place natural and artifical images onto the right and left walls, and ceiling of the room – thanks to the edge-blending technology, image transitions are not visible here.

The devices are all installed behind glass in special wall recesses to keep them protected from the salt-saturated air of the spa. For this unusual project, twelve special films were created, showing natural landscapes such as forest glades, underwater worlds and even computer-generated content. The total run-time of the films is around 20 minutes, twice an hour. "We have realised that our guests prefer the natural content over the computer-generated content," explains Silvia Sommer, "so we plan to change the content accordingly in the future."


A huge success

The health spa in Bad Elster with its new thermal salt spa and light and sound bath is very popular. "The thermal salt spa enhances tourism in the entire region. We have been able to expand our catchment area for day trippers to around 300 kilometres. Even the number of spa visitors and holidaymakers has increased," reports Silvia Sommer. "The high number of visitors and repeat customers shows us that we're on the right track with our concept, and it is a tremendous success for the state spa of Bad Elster."

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Key facts

  • The Sächsische Staatsbäder chose three Epson EB-G6900WU full-HD projectors to project short films on the walls of the spa as part of a multisensory bathing experience The Epson projectors were chosen as it was felt they would cope best with challenging conditions including an unusual shaped room with irregular non-white surfaces The light and sound bath has proved so popular that it has expanded the spa's catchment area and increased visitor numbers

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