Project team:
Spatial concept and lighting design: L1 in collaboration with
Solvers Engineering and artist Anton Grechko
Products applied:
For pools of light: iGuzzini equipped with Osram LED sources
For plant walls and stands: iGuzzini

20. May 2016

Empire Blackyard – a highly versatile underground gallery in Moscow City/RUS

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Askhat Bardynov

The Russian capital has a new financial and business district: Moscow City. The development has made a significant change to the city skyline, which can now join ranks with the likes of London, Frankfurt and New York City. But as it is in our cities today, a part of what goes on there takes place “below ground”. Tunnels, underpasses and subways ad infinitum. One idea to get around the situation: make the best of it, and turn the potentially gloomy passageways into a creative stage.

The underground pedestrian gallery, which connects all the towers in the district as well as providing access to the underground station and the Afimall retail and entertainment complex, is far more than a ‘corridor’ for residents and Moscow-City visitors. The client together with the architects came up with the idea of converting the gallery into a retail space in its own right, with a special atmosphere that would align with the quality and feel of the Empire Tower and be clearly distinguish-able from any other underground galleries in the quarter.

The Empire Blackyard, as the underground gallery is called, has quickly become a popular destination. Besides serving as a convenient thoroughfare, it is frequently used to stage fairs, exhibitions and other events. The space features a simple but stunning design and lighting concept: instead of creating yet another brightly lit circulation area – the concept commonly applied in shopping and business centres – the wall, floor and ceiling surfaces feature simple materials and black or grey as standard colours. The walls are interspersed with sections of vertical gardens – the plant walls remove any feeling of being underground in a closed space. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 101

Our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store) contains a media-enhanced version

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