OMICRON. High Speed Architainment.

I’m not really sure that I have words for the excellence that this contains.

O (Omicron) from Romain Tardy (AntiVJ) on Vimeo.

Romain Tardy and Thomas Vaquié are the creating artists on this one — from the AntiVJ Blog:

Last year, we were approached to create our first permanent installation for the new museum of architecture of Hala Stulecia, in Wroclaw, Poland. The piece — that we called O (Omicron), is actually the last part of the visit, and a way to create a link between the rich history of the building and the present times, by turning this massive concrete structure into a lively architecture.

When opened, Hala Stulecia was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world. With a diameter of 65m it was home to the largest dome built since the Pantheon in Rome eighteen centuries earlier.
The Centennial Hall was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

It is reasonable to think that when Hala Stulecia was built in 1913 Max Berg’s ambition for his construction was to pass the test of time. What could have been his vision of the monument in the distant future? How did he imagine the olding of the materials? The evolution of the surrounding urbanism and populations?

The piece proposed for the Centennial Hall of Wroclaw is based around the notion of timelessness in architecture, and the idea of what future has meant throughout the 20th century.

Taking the 1910’s as a starting point (the dome was erected in 1913), historical and artistic references were used to reveal the architecture of the space, its timeless and, more surprisingly, very modern dimension.

This building is called the Hala Stulecia (Centennial Hall); it’s a Max Berg structure, built when the German Empire was still owner of the city of WrocÅ‚aw.  Here’s the structure in a way that makes us lighting designers more comfortable, with truss and chain motors in it:

This building is amazing:

When opened, Hala Stulecia was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world. With a diameter of 65m it was home to the largest dome built since the Pantheon in Rome eighteen centuries earlier. The Centennial Hall was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. Taking the 1910’s as a starting point (the dome was erected in 1913), historical and artistic references were used to reveal the architecture of the space, its timeless and, more surprisingly, very modern dimension.

A deliberately minimalist visual aesthetic allowed to highlight the very architecture of Hala Stulecia’s dome and re-affirm its place at the core of the piece.

Check out the “Making Of” video, too — below:

O (Omicron) / Making of from Romain Tardy (AntiVJ) on Vimeo.

Thanks, We Waste Time!  You guys are one of my favorite blogs lately!

The Importance of Light Sources in Architectural Lighting Design Choices

I have a very interesting view from my apartment.  As you can imagine, since I’m typically only home after the sun goes down to appreciate it, I spend a lot of time gazing at the city, Oklahoma City.  I have a great view of most of downtown from my 13th floor city view condo, and I have large windows that open to air, allowing me to get great unimpeded shots of the entire area.

I take a lot of pictures of downtown Oklahoma City – it is so interesting to me to watch the city go from sunset to artificial light, almost as if it has a beating heart that only comes alive at night.  To watch the buildings flicker alive with their exterior illumination is like watching a giant living, breathing, feeling being come into its own each day as the sun goes to bed.

There is one thing that of course I would notice over all other beauty in my downtown view – poorly maintained architectural lighting.  As such a fan of great design in lighting and architecture, when I see a building that generally has aesthetically pleasing features, and then I see those features slaughtered by poorly maintained exterior lighting.  It’s kinda like falling in love with someone and getting dumped on your tukus for no reason – a major disappointment.  That example might be a wee bit extreme, but I think I get the point across – bad architectural lighting makes a city look ugly.

I think this really comes down to light source choice when planning the exterior illumination design.  As designers, we are responsible (at least in MY head) for choosing lighting that is going to not only support the architecture, but to accentuate it as well.  This comes down to many things overall – and I think one of them is being well versed in the lamp life and longevity of both lamps and fixtures that we choose to add to buildings.  If you choose poorly in your exterior lighting fixture and lamp choices, then your design is going to become the victim of maintenance.

Case in point:  Oklahoma City’s Museum of Art – I have a clear view of the building from my apartment.  What really sucks is that I don’t have a picture of the building with all of the architectural lighting working.  I’ve lived in my apartment since mid-July 2010.  Check out the building illuminated at night:

I’ve been on top of that building – changing the lamps in the architectural lighting atop the museum is not difficult because you can literally walk around and access most of the bases.  However, there have to be several thousand lamps in that design (the lamps are a bit bigger than C-9’s), and changing them what seems to be at least bi-weekly seems to be the only way to have them all work.

Would you say that this lighting design is efficiently using maintenance’s time?

Here’s another look at the structure, this time less of them are burned out:

And another with more lamps out:

Another building in town that has interesting potential (and has a pretty good record for upkeeping the architectural lighting) is the OG&E building in downtown Oklahoma City.  The OG&E building has a large swath of red fixtures lining the top of the building itself – I don’t know if they’re neon or just fluorescent with a red diffuser, but it’s generally an interesting look:

Now here’s the OG&E building when some of its fixtures are out:

Just doesn’t quite look the same, huh.

When you make design choices, always try to take into consideration what your work will look like when it’s not maintained.  I think that the aspect of a poorly maintained lighting design isn’t always taken into consideration – which leads to bigger problems in the end.

Chew on THAT!

The Lighting Machine Project – “Happy Umbrella” at KTH


Our class just finished the first module of study and our first major lighting project here at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan in Sweden.  Our first module of classes has just finished – an introduction of sorts to the world of light and lighting and a good way to bring everyone in the program to a level playing ground, so to speak.  There is a huge range of backgrounds in our class, and the instructors have done  a great job providing information to level the field.

The first project, called the Lighting Machine project, was the culmination of a week-long seminar on working with Dutch designer Willem Van Der Sluis.  Willem was in residence with us for a week, mentoring us through this project along with faculty professor Diana Joels.  Willem gave us a great lecture on working with light and an in-depth look into a few of his projects.  I’ll be chronicling some of Willem’s work in a post later this week.

The basic principles of Lighting Machine was that each group was to create a full-scale lighting machine that focused on the distribution of light rather than on the beauty and form of the machine itself.  We were to analyze our campus building for places we felt had illumination problems, and create this lighting machine to aid in the solution of this problem.  I created a video to describe our project and problem, but we took a positive outlook on the “problem.”  On the lowest level of our building there is a hallway full of patio umbrellas that are lit with low temperature (around 2700 degrees Kelvin) fluorescent lighting.  It’s a place where people hang out all day at different times during the day, and we sought to make it more happy.  Hence, our group and lighting machine was called “Happy Umbrella.”  Check out a few pictures of the space and of the building:



Lighting Machine was an interesting project on many levels.  First, we were assigned into groups of four people, each with a different background – architecture, interior design, lighting design, electrical engineering, you name it.  The program is being administered in English, but there is a wide variety of comprehension of the English language.  The language barrier makes communication interesting.  Drawings and sketches – visual communication – sometimes take the place of verbal communication in these situations.  We chose a handful of locations with what we perceived as problems, and came to a consensus as to which project we all liked – which ended up being the umbrella location project.  In the creation of the lighting machine, we were also given the choice of two light sources – a 50W T5 circular fluorescent, or a 40W halogen PAR20.  We chose to use both.

A long story short, we decided to provide the location with a feel of nature – the umbrella representative of a tree with a pattern, and the table with better illumination and contrast, as the overhead fluorescents provided next to none.  We invented an optical projector with a homemade template out of miscellaneous pieces and parts of reflectors and lenses, and a wash-type unit from the fluorescent.  Happy Umbrella also incorporated both the umbrella and the table as part of the product.

I’ve embedded two videos below – the first is an overview of the project (about seven minutes long), and the second is a quick explanation of the projector for the class.  These videos were something I made for the heck of it, just for the blog.  I did use the projector explanation video in the presentation of the Lighting Machine as a way to help explain how a projector works.

Project Overview:

Projector Explanation Video:

Happy Umbrella from below:


555 Kubik – A Facade Projection THIS BIG

I just read about an architectural projection project created by a company called Urban Screen – a building sized projection that really brings a sense of life to the architecture.  Daniel Rossa is the art director, and the project was realized using the MXWendler media server.  The quote listed on the Vimeo project page for the production, entitled 555 Kubik, is mentally stunning:

How would it be, if a house was dreaming.

From Urban Screen’s Vimeo page:

The conception of this project consistently derives from its underlying architecture – the theoretic conception and visual pattern of the Hamburg Kunsthalle. The Basic idea of narration was to dissolve and break through the strict architecture of O. M. Ungers “Galerie der Gegenwart”. Resultant permeabilty of the solid facade uncovers different interpretations of conception, geometry and aesthetics expressed through graphics and movement. A situation of reflexivity evolves – describing the constitution and spacious perception of this location by means of the building itself.

The short version, and directly following is the extended version:

555 KUBIK | facade projection | from urbanscreen on Vimeo.

555 KUBIK_ extended version from urbanscreen on Vimeo.

Thanks, Create Digital Motion, for the heads up on this project!

RE/DO by Piuarch and .PSLAB

Ah, .PSLAB’s work always impresses me.  I’ve written about them several times before, and I suspect I will write about them several more times before I expire.  RE/DO is a joint project between .PSLAB and the Italian (Milan) company Piuarch.  The work, an architectural lighting piece, is comprised of702 plastic gallon bottles turned into lighting modules by .PSLAB in Beirut and assembled a 5.5 X 8 meter light wall in Milan at the Piuarch studio.

Check out these images:






Thanks, Yatzer!

Mindseye’s Lighting Design of Bermondsey Square


London’s Bermondsey Square just got a lighting facelift from Mindseye Lighting Design, also in London.  The Bermondsey Square project is an apartment complex, and Mindseye worked with an architectural firm, Munkenbeck and Marshall Architects, to rock the project.  The area in the project is a reception area within the Bermondsey Square building;  interesting work, basically no right angles, timber clad walls, and a pretty limited budget.  Recipe for success?

Mindseye used the Bespoke luminaires, integrated into the timber walls, to light the space.  I think it really transforms an otherwise odd space into something glowing and magical – what lighting should be when it’s done with thought.


Some info from Mindseye about the project:

Mindseye Lighting Design were approached by Munkenbeck and Marshall Architects to design the lighting for the residential reception area of an apartment block within the Bermondsey Square £60 million regeneration project. The project is now complete; boasting 76 outstanding residential apartments, new office and retail units, an art-house cinema, a boutique hotel, restaurants and bars, all based around a communal square.

The site was once an ancient monument, and in later years a depressed 19th century housing estate. More recently it has been the site of the famous Bermondsey antiques market, which has a royal charter and is actually called the ‘New Caledonian Market’. It has been on the site since 1960’s having moved here from Islington.

When briefed, Mindseye quickly realized that illuminating the space would be a challenge. The budget was restrictive and the space is relatively complex, having a split level design with double and triple height ceilings and timber clad walls. What’s more, there’s barely a right angle in sight.

Due to these challenges, instead of accentuating or treating surfaces and details, we took a different approach, the idea being to use the visual language of the linear cladding and integrate bespoke fluorescent luminaires with acrylic diffusers. No luminaire on the market was suitable to be integrated into the cladding, so we took the challenge and designed a bespoke luminaire. Their lengths and positioning were carefully considered in order to work with the space, sensitively enhancing the dramatic aesthetic.

Thanks for posting this, Mitja from Enlighter!



ReLight the Gesù Theatre

Quartier des spectacles Partnership, the Gesù Theatre, and the City of Montreal’s Design Montréal agency has invited designers and “creators” to submit lighting, architecture and scenographic propositions for a revamp of the architectural lighting and design for the Gesù.

Apparently, there are prizes too!  According to the project’s site, which is in French, there are monetary prizes for those chosen for their ideas:

Grand prix du jury: 10 000$
Deuxième prix : 5 000$
Troisième prix : 3 000$
Prix du public : 2 000$

which translates to:

Grand Prix of the jury: 10.000$
Second price: 5.000$
Third price: 3.000$
Price of the public: 2.000$

If you’re interested in entering, the information is here, in French.  For an English translation, here’s a link to Babelfish for the article.  All images, contest materials, and all relevant docs are there, in PDF and JPEG.

UNStudio’s Big Moire Building

UNStudio, an architecture firm specializing in infrastructure, architecture, and urban development, has a project called the Star Palace, in Taiwan.  About Star Palace, from UNStudio:

A vibrant new landmark has appeared in the fast and modern city of Kaohsiung: the luxury shopping center Star Place. Both outside and inside, the building radiates dynamism and the kind of bright perfection that the architect refers to as the ‘Made in Heaven Effect’. Everything about the building moves the eye.
Positioned at an urban plaza with a roundabout, the building occupies a triangular lot, giving it a wide and open frontage. Curving inwardly, the building embraces this position and opens itself fully to the city. For UNStudio the question of the building began with the façade as an urban manifestation. However the chosen solution of a ‘deep’ front elevation, with a prominent pattern made by the application of protruding elements, was immediately reconnected to the internal arrangement of the spaces around the atrium, the circulation through the atrium and the views from the inside to the outside. As a result, the project now consists of a tight package of inside-outside relations.  The open and transparent glass façade is patterned with projecting horizontal, aluminum-faced lamellas and vertical glass fins that together form a swirling pattern. This pattern breaks up the scale of the building, which, from the outside has no legible floor heights as a result of the one-meter spacing between the horizontal lamellas. Ostensibly, the pattern of lamellas and fins acts as a sunscreen and weather barrier, but in reality the combination of the wish to make a ‘deep’ façade while preserving the internal floor space was behind the choice to apply a pattern to the outside frontage.

This building is enormous, first and foremost; the article I found about this building, from Yanko Design, said that the building specializes in “oohs and ahhs.”  It has a massive chasm in the middle of it, spanning from floor to roof, and creating a void worthy only of the largest of imagination.

Beautiful.  Gaze these images: