© Linus Lintner Fotografie / Design: Naveen Mehling

Eating sausage in style

PLEXIGLAS® LED turns a sausage booth in Berlin into a glowing attraction.

Preparing a traditional Currywurst (sliced sausage with curry sauce) is an art in itself. The sausage may be poached or fried, in a natural casing or without, made from a mixture of pork and beef or pure beef – there is no saying what the original variety is. And it’s even more difficult when it comes to the version... But regardless of the different recipes from region to region, Currywurst remains one of the most popular choices at canteens and snack bars across Germany. The origins of this culinary specialty are wreathed in legend.

1952: First sausage sold

The family that owns the Berlin sausage booth Zur Bratpfanne has its own story of how it came across Currywurst. Annemarie, who later married the company founder Günter Mosgraber, worked in the home of an American family after the war. There she learned to make ketchup and a spicy sauce for hamburgers – including curry. This knowledge was the basis for the family recipe that Günter Mosgraber used to sell the first Currywurst in 1952. The Mosgrabers’ recipes for Currywurst and its accompaniments haven’t changed in over 60 years, unlike the appearance of their booth, which has stood at its present location in Berlin’s Steglitz district since 1966. After a series of conversions and extensions, the snack bar was finally transformed into a glowing attraction in September 2011, thanks to PLEXIGLAS® LED.

“I have waited for this for more than 10 years and finally received planning permission thanks to the modern design,” says current owner and son of the founder, Matthias Mosgraber. “It turned into a real design project. I wanted it to add flair to our street.” The new booth combines tradition with modernity. The old sign “Zur Bratpfanne” adorns the building that consists of a steel structure and 27 ­illuminated glass surfaces.

Homogeneous area lighting

“Our booth can now been seen from far off, like a glittering diamond. The combination of LED printed circuit boards and PLEXIGLAS® LED makes the colors look vivid even in the bright light of the shopping street,” says lighting designer Naveen Mehling, who planned and implemented the lighting concept. On the outside, the area lighting consists of 21mm thick ceramic glass made of high-quality white glass, and on the inside, of 8mm thick PLEXIGLAS® LED. The backlighting of the milky-white ceramic glass creates a three-dimensional effect when seen close up, which is reminiscent of ice crystals. “Even when unlit, this material provides an optically interesting façade surface of high architectural quality. The ceramic glass also gently diffuses the LED light. The colors appear vivid but slightly pastel at the same time,” says Mehling.

The area lighting behind the glass is provided by feeding the light from powerful LEDs into the edges of PLEXIGLAS® LED. The result is an evenly glowing surface ­without hot spots or striation. “Of course, for ­PLEXIGLAS® to show its ideal lighting effect, it takes high-quality light sources and control modules. And easy-to-use software for user friendliness,” Mehling explains. The 27 glass sections are independent lighting elements that can be individually controlled by tablet or computer via DMX modules. Theoretically, 16 million colors are possible. “The mood can be changed depending on the time of day or type of daylight”, the lighting designer says.

Currywurst und Pommes Frites

It’s all about the sausage

The Currywurst (sliced sausage with curry sauce) is a very popular German dish. However, its preparation varies considerably from region to region: some use a grilled sausage and some use a boiled sausage; in one piece or sliced; served with tomato-curry sauce or curry-ketchup sauce. The dish was created – depending on the source – in Berlin in 1949. The city is now also home to a Currywurst Museum.

© fotolia/Jasom

Creative surprises

“The colors can not only be synchronously dimmed and modulated, they can surprise passers-by with an endless combination of new dynamic color switches,” says Mehling. “At present, the colors change ­according to the day of the week.” “But we wanted the lighting concept to offer even more,” says ­Mosgraber. The glass roof is also part of the design. The 5mm joints between the stainless steel members that support the roof and usually go unnoticed are filled with strips of PLEXIGLAS® Satinice. “The material perfectly distributes the light of the orange-colored LEDs. Despite direct light from the light sources at close quarters, due to the small space between the light exit point and the diffuser surface, no hot spots (dots of LED light) can be seen,” Meh­ling says. “The warm white LED light inside and the targeted illumination of the food dispensing surface by powerful LED spotlights rounds off this special experience that combines delicious food with a feast for the eyes.”

Light is the best advertisement

Light really is the best advertisement. It draws the attention of many people who didn’t know us before.

Matthias Mosgraber
Owner of the sausage booth and son from the founder

The owner can confirm this after one look at the cash register: “Light really is the best advertisement. It draws the attention of many people who didn’t know us before,” Mosgraber says. But most of his customers are regulars, and the sausage expert knows that advertising alone is not enough – the quality has to be right. That is why he sets store not just by modern design, but also modern kitchen technology. Family recipes are all well and good, but “for me, the best Currywurst is the one that makes customers come back for more,” Mosgraber says.