11. Jul 2017

No. 105 – Facade lighting


Facade clubbing
Mediatecture: the Klubhaus St.Pauli in Hamburg/DE is the result of an innovative symbiosis.

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Bartenbach Lighting Design, Urbanscreen GmbH & Co KG

Media facades are not the solution for every location. Times Square is not everywhere. And yet if a street or a location is to be defined as part of an overall media surface concept, then the challenge is all about differentiating between what is normal and what is special. In the case of the facade of the Klubhaus St. Pauli in Hamburg/DE a work has been achieved which is definitely a world-first. It does not turn St. Pauli into Times Square; when it comes to creativity, it actually leaves Times Square behind. This becomes especially clear when the two-dimensional quality of the media facade undergoes its fascinating transition…


A milestone media facade
The light frieze on the Kunstmuseum in Basel/CH.

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag
Photos: Derek Li Wan Po, Basel

Solid facades are made of bricks. They are pieced together, brick by brick, and fixed firmly in place using cement or mortar. The result to the onlooker is a rough but sturdy and textured wall. Bricks and wood were among the first building materials ever, applied thousands of years ago to create the first settlements, to be further developed over the years right up to the present day. Fired brick walls, regardless of type or colour, have a special quality that responds outstandingly to natural light. This feature has been exploited to immense effect on the facade of the new extension to the Kunstmuseum (art museum) in Basel by adding an LED lighting component and transforming it into a unique media facade. …


Visual stimulation
Media facade beyond the norm: the C3A Contemporary Arts Centre in Córdoba/ES.

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag
Photos: Roland-Halbe, Markus Koob, realities: united

The displays that surround us every day of our lives with the goal of entertaining us constantly in as fascinating a way as possible – flashy, colourful, loud, soft, short, long, hugely important or totally trivial – are becoming increasingly larger, more advanced, in increasingly higher resolution, and more engagingly interactive. Commercial companies vying for attention in all sectors, and potential customers craving to acquire the latest products on the market. But why not take a step back? Why not adopt a different, more minimalist approach – and cause even more of a stir? Media displays in the 21st century can be as out of the ordinary as they come, and yet still be visually stimulating. The C3A Contemporary Arts Centre in Córdoba/ES is an experience in its own league in this regard. …


Shaped by light
CityLights – the Pont de Sèvres Towers project in Paris/FR.

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Dominique Perrault Architecture, Badani et Roux-Dorlut, Vincent Fillon

When the powers that be decide to redesign an outdated office block that – even at a considerable distance – is a highly visible part of the urban backdrop, then the idea should also be to render it a striking feature of the cityscape. Better still, it should become a true beacon of the part of the city it is located in. In Paris this was sorely needed. …


Subtly striking
How Motel One in London succeeds in making its mark in the urban landscape.

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag
Photos: Nick Kane Photography

If you want to be successful and stand out for your own unique qualities, you quickly find yourself making every attempt to attract attention. This is a pretty effective means of addressing such situations. You do not have to be particularly loud or flashy in an attempt to stand out. It sometimes works better if you take a discreet, gentle or quiet approach to reach your goals. When a hotel chain chooses to set up business in London, it can certainly be helpful to also consider taking this approach to enhance your visibility – and become a recognizable beacon in the densely packed cityscape. …


Cool lighting afire with history
Facade lighting for an enlightening facade.

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Fernando Guerra

Converting a building, giving it a new image and lease of life while maintaining its historic identity is one of the exciting challenges of architecture. Light can be extremely helpful in this context. Many designers regard light solely as a means for accentuation. And yet there are far more subtle ways of using light, if it is applied indirectly or integrated into the architecture to achieve its “centre-stage role”. …


The illumination of the historic facade of Carnegie Hall, New York City/US.

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Jeff Goldberg/Esto

What is it that is so complex about façade lighting for historic buildings that requires a lighting designer having to become intricately involved? Many facades are simply clearly structured and allow little scope for creative design. In this case, however, it was evident that the facade required more than merely a detailed solution. Design and the battle against time…



A study on facade lighting for residential buildings in Tehran/IR
A study carried out by Elham Souri and Atefeh Mojtabazadeh for the City Beautification Organisation at Tehran Municipality.

Text: Dr. Elham Souri

Although the facades of residential buildings play a clear role in the city nightscape, there is evidence that many requirements need to be met to ensure the lighting design of these elements in Tehran city is considerate and appropriate. Whereas there is still uncertainty as to whether dark facades on residential buildings really need to be illuminated when they are already part of a lit environment, lighting designers illuminate them without due regard to the fact that a residential building is a part of an overall setting. This study was carried out to acquire an understanding of the status of the lighting of residential buildings in Tehran. The results indicated that further studies urgently need to be undertaken in order to define precise lighting design codes. …



Can we standardise the human eye?
An assessment of colour preference under white LEDs by individuals with different iris colours.

Text: Dr. Karolina M. Zielinska-Dabkowska, PhD, Veronika Labancová, Dr. Amardeep M. Dugar, PhD

Does the iris colour of individuals have an impact on their preference of colour under white light emitting diodes (LEDs)? To address this question, a study was conducted to examine  how people with different iris colours respond to the colour and brightness of three scene settings under illumination from LEDs. …



Would you believe it…
HCL – again…

Text: Joachim Ritter

I really make the greeeeatest effort not to listen when I hear the term Human Centric Lighting entioned in connection with lighting design. Unfortunately, masses of design awards are given away every year claiming to be recognising HCL in the designer’s approach, and in my role as a journalist it is my duty, so to speak, to be open to any new information. And yet a quick review of the information provided only leads me to conclude: hardly anybody can really differentiate between light and luminaires, and consequently also not between the quality of light and that of luminaires.



The right cut
Design is often a question of the right cut. Tile and Line from Cooledge.

Flexibility is the prerequisite for creativity. Which probably explains why scissors are a fashion designer’s key tool. The right cut ensures that everything fits, can be appropriately combined and new design ideas developed. …


Luminous surfaces redefined
Carpetlight – flexible light of the next generation.

Light is a highly symbolic and versatile phenomenon, and as soon as one embarks on designing with light it becomes a physical and even metaphysical material with which to create environments. Hardly any other object within an architectural space attracts the attention of designers as much as the luminaire, and architectural design is simply not possible without a coherent lighting concept. …




Text: Alison Ritter

When commissioned to design the lighting for a project, lighting designers spend a significant amount of time analysing not only the architecture of the (indoor or outdoor) space, but also the needs of the users of that space. What visual tasks are to be performed there? What atmosphere is required to support the way the space is used over the day/year? These considerations take place before any lighting equipment – light sources, luminaires, lighting controls – is specified.



Problem-based learning

Text: Alison Ritter

How can dealing with problems prepare one for a career in lighting? The transdisciplinary Master’s programme in Lighting Design at Aalborg University in Copenhagen is paving the way, drawing on knowledge and skills within architecture, lighting engineering and media technology. The pedagogical curriculum is compiled in the context of multi-level learning competencies. Teaching staff include teams of researchers, experts from the lighting industry, and graduate students of Lighting Design.




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