You can’t create natural-looking rocks just like that. That is why Phantasialand has brought in experts with many years of experience to work on Klugheim. The creative team already created the impressive rocky backdrop at Chiapas – DIE Wasserbahn. However, even the professionals had never encountered dimensions like Klugheim before. Here, we didn’t just need rocks, we were creating an entire range of mountains! This posed a real challenge to rock builder Helder Lopez and his team. Ultimately, the basalt rock landscape will end up running through the whole of Klugheim and provide the perfect frame around the themed world: The multi-launch coaster Taron will be trying to find its way through the ravines while busy village life beats on at the foot of the mountain; of course, everything needs to look as genuine as possible, as if the rocks had been standing there for centuries.

To achieve all this, Helder Lopez and his team are taking to some extraordinary measures. After all, one thing is certain: this is not just any old building site. You notice the difference right from the set-up. The rock builders use a very special type of scaffolding unlike anything you have ever seen. When it comes to creating a proper rock, you cannot just build it from top to bottom. You also need to be able to work from front to back, so that you can recreate nature’s unique structures properly. The scaffolding therefore grows with the rock. The more rock is created, the higher the scaffolding climbs. And you can be sure of one thing: It climbs pretty high!

After many months of work, a formation of basalt columns starts to rise above Klugheim, a range that could stand proudly next to the impressive mountain ranges of Iceland! The passion that went into the project not only produced a range of authentic natural rocks, it also created an experience. Slowly but surely, all the little details are coming together to make sure your visit to Klugheim is a trip you’ll never forget.

First step: Cage work

Step by step, a piece of art is being created from steel. Yes, it really is a work of art! Using welding tools, the sculptors join together the reinforced steel pipes to form an impressive basalt landscape full of hills, ravines and jutting rocks. For this, they need to have incredibly good spatial awareness. The rocks will soon be over several hundred metres wide and rise many metres above Klugheim. This is a huge surface area that needs to be covered! Though you can only see metal and the basic structure at the moment, the project will soon be reminiscent of an old stone monument that has held strong after years of battering by the wind and weather.

 Second step: Cover match

You can now already see what the rocks could look like later on. However, the countless basalt columns are only bare steel structures at the moment, which is why they need a shell. To do this, the rock builders climb into the structure and apply hundreds of metres of a special woven plastic.  This is not an easy task. A rock like this is not naturally flat and smooth. It has edges and corners, each different from the next. And each one has to be covered by the fabric as this is later used as a basis for applying the special coloured cement that will give the rock its unique character. This step marks the end of the preliminary work. The columns are starting to take shape.

Third step: Scrub

Finally: The rocks look like rocks. Trained stone carvers use compressed air to apply the first layer of the cement plaster. But this is not any old cement – it has been dyed especially for Klugheim. This forms the basis for the more detailed work that follows. However, you can already see how impressive this rock is going to be – even if it is still missing that certain something. Its character.

Fourth step: Sculpture

Now it is time for the sculptors to breathe life into the rock, giving it a soul. Rocks have souls? Why, of course! For centuries, it has withstood the vagaries of nature and stayed strong through even the heaviest storm. However, it has not gone through these experiences unchanged: Its summit is covered in stony scars. Nature has formed it and made it unique. And that is exactly what the rocks in Klugheim will look like, too! The sculptors are putting their hearts and souls into making sure of it. With trowels and blades, they scratch the tiniest indentations into the imposing façade, centimetre by centimetre. They create lines and stone-like structures. They make the rock real, or at least look real.

Fifth step: Paint

Now it’s not long until the rock is finished. The stone painters are given the honour of finishing the work of the art. They give the stone-like formations their authentic look. In places where crags jut out of the façade, they use paintbrushes to create impressive effects that remind us of the ruthlessness of the weather. In other places, they recreate the structures of basalt rock with all of its shadows and natural patterns. They are not just painting a few things on the rocks. These are true professionals, who work meticulously on each square centimetre of the enormous rocky landscape using just their paintbrushes and special paint guns. 

Author

Christian Buhl