12. Oct 2017

Reinterpreting the “Highrise One” building in Munich/DE to make it the “Tower of Sparkle”.

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag
Photos: pfarré lighting design

There is always a soft hissing sound when you open a bottle of sparkling water. Slowly, making sure the foam does not build up and spill over, you pour the water into a glass. Suddenly everything starts to fizz and sparkle: thousands of tiny bubbles dance around in the glass, making their way from bottom to top, twisting, turning, exploding when they reach the surface, or adhering briefly to the sides of the glass before delving back down into the water.

At the beginning of the year on the occasion of the “Long Night of Architecture” in Munich/DE, the “Tower of Sparkle” gave rise to similar images of tingling, and of course sparkling, activity – and not only because of its name. Shortly before its completion, a design concept was developed to dramatically transform the 17-storey “Highrise One” office tower into a sparkling volume – not using water, I hasten to add, but light that was purposefully applied inside and outside the building.

In short: a highly inventive concept, extremely simple and using little technology, was realised using the building shell as an exterior envelope to house the volume of sparkling light, which could be read as such even when viewed form considerable distances. In detail: altogether 48 disco spheres, each with a diameter of 40 centimetres, plus 48 spotlights were applied. Every corner of the 12-story tower that sits on top of the five lower levels was equipped with one disco sphere, which was lit at an angle from above by a theatrical lighting projector.

The result was a tower filled with effervescent light, the mirrors on the spheres projecting patterns of small circles of light that mimicked the feel of luminous bubbles, dissolving floors and ceilings and turning the tower block into a huge glass of sparkling water in the centre of the city.

Client: Reiss & Co. Real Estate, Munich

Architecture: Steidle Architekten

Lighting design: pfarré lighting design

Lighting projectors: ETC



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