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Lighting: The Latest Architecture and News

VIDEO: Light Installation Transforms Cylindrical Tower

The bowels of a Gasometer may be an unlikely place to stage a light installation, however, URBANSCREEN, a German projection company, has done just that. 320 Licht is a spectacle of light and sound within a cylindrical volume over 300 feet high. With the help of Epson Germany, URBANSCREEN was able to sync 21 separate projectors for a 22 minute loop, documenting the process in the amazing high-definition video above. Enjoy!

Behind the Magic of Media Installations

In this interview, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Melissa Weigel of Moment Factory", Leslie Gallery-Dilworth talks with Weigel about the challenges of devising multimedia installations for public spaces, as in their recent installation for the Bradley International Terminal at LAX.

Montreal’s Moment Factory, a new media and entertainment studio, is best known for creating and producing multimedia environments that combine video, lighting, architecture, sound, and special effects. You may have seen their work at Cirque du Soleil, Madonna’s 2012 Superbowl Half Time Show, Disney's E3 booth, or Jay Z's Carnegie Hall debut. Perhaps you were there when they lit up the facade of the Sagrada Familia or Montreal's Quartier des Spectacles district. Or maybe you saw that they were included in Apple's recently launched 30th anniversary timeline.

Moment Factory was the main content provider for the interior concept and media features in the newly opened Bradley International Terminal at LAX, designed by Fentress Architects. It was a large collaboration consisting of several partners, including Mike Rubin with MRA International, Marcela Sardi of Sardi Design, Smart Monkey, Digital Kitchen, and Electrosonic with installation by Daktronics and Planar.

Light Matters: Glass Beyond Transparency with James Carpenter

In Modernism’s attempt to dissolve spatial boundaries with transparency, the material used - glass - is all too often dematerialised. In contrast, the New York-based designer James Carpenter is interested in multiple readings of glass - beyond transparency.

As Carpenter explains: “People approach light in relationship to architecture. It is that the light is the means by which the architecture is revealed and the architecture is basically defined by the way the light enters the space. I tend to think actually from the opposite direction where the light itself is what informs the architecture. The architecture is in service of light rather than the other way around.” 

More Light Matters, after the break…

7 World Trade Center. New York, NY 2003-2007. Image © Andreas KellerDichroic Light Field. Millennium Tower at 160 Columbus Avenue. New York, NY. 1994-1995. Image © JCDADichroic Light Field. Millennium Tower at 160 Columbus Avenue. New York, NY. 1994-1995. Image © JCDASky Reflector-Net (2013), an integrated artwork, is an artist, architect, engineer collaboration with James Carpenter Design Associates, Grimshaw Architects, and Arup, commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design and MTA Capital Construction Company (MTACC). Image © Richard Kress, JCDA+ 17

Light Matters: Europe's Leading Light Festivals

In mid autumn, when the nights get longer in the northern hemisphere, we encounter numerous light festivals. And indeed, within the last ten years, more and more light festivals have globally emerged. The reason for the success of light festivals is simple, as the German curator Bettina Pelz concludes: “It’s actually fairly easy, because whenever you do something with light in cities in the night, then people do come. If you do it good, they come twice.” 

As Pelz points out, light is an apt medium for evening events, since it easily attracts people. Communities have discovered the potential of lighting for city marketing, and the closer they plan their date to Christmas, the more they merge their illumination with the festive blinking lights of commercial Christmas markets.

Join us on a tour through some of the leading light festivals in Europe. Read more about their different backgrounds, artistic concepts and future trends after the break...

Light Marina Bay. Singapore, 2012. Image © Darren ChinBerliner Cathedral, Festival of lights. Berlin, 2012. Photographer: Marius Schwarz. Image Courtesy of  Festival of lights / Frank HerrmannTunnel of love by Vollaerszwart. Glow 2011. Image Courtesy of GLOW EindhovenCagna Illuminations, 2012. Design: De Cagna . Light Festival Ghent. Image Courtesy of City of Ghent+ 30

Light Matters: 3D Video Mapping, Making Architecture The Screen for Our Urban Stories

Powerful video projectors at an affordable price have opened the path for a young, impressive art form: 3D video mapping, a means of projection that uses the architecture itself as the screen. Artists and researchers initiated the movement, developing a new visual language to interpret architecture. Later, marketing adopted this technique for branding, with large-scale projections on skyscrapers; political activists have also initiated dialogues, turning ephemeral light interventions into eye-catching ways to point out and address urban design issues.

More on the ways artists and groups develop this visual language for urban storytelling, after the break…

Lamp Lighting Solutions Awards 2013: Winners Announced

The winners of the 2013 Lamp Lighting Solutions Awards have been announced. With a total of 608 projects submitted from 52 countries, €48,000 in prize money has been awarded to 5 winning teams. The Lamp Awards were given to projects that successfully met the architectural lighting needs of an interior or exterior space, having created a positive synergy between the architecture, interior design, landscaping and lighting. The four categories included Architectural Outdoor Lighting, Indoor Lighting, Urban and Landscape Lighting, and Students Proposals.

The 2013 Lamp Lighting Solutions Awards Winners are:

Light Matters: Recovering The Dark Sky

The advent of electrical lighting has allowed us to colonise the night. Not only have kilometres of street lighting ensured higher levels of safety, but signs, advertisements, etc. continue to draw us into nocturnal landscapes. As Rem Koolhaas explored in Delirious New York, Manhattan and Coney Island were the early luminous prototypes for today’s continuously vibrant metropolises: cities that establish new rhythms, a new balance between work and life. 

But what happens when lighting upsets our natural balance? When we lose the beauty of the dark sky, the stars? What happens when lighting turns into pollution? 

More Light Matters, after the break...

UVA Transforms Sou Fujimoto's Serpentine Pavilion with "Electrical Storm" of LEDs

London-based United Visual Artists (UVA) has brought Sou Fujimoto’s “cloud-like” Serpentine Pavilion to life with an “electrical storm” of LEDs. With the intention of making the architecture “breathe” from within, UVA seamlessly integrated a network of LED lights into the latticed, 20mm steel pole structure that mimics the natural forms of an electric storm. In addition, carefully conducted auditory effects further enhance the experience, transforming Fujimoto’s “radical pavilion” into an electrified geometric cloud.

Light Matters: Can Light "Cheat" In Simulations?

In recent years the use of CAD and simulation programs has resulted in a new understanding of light in architecture. The drawing board and its lamp have given way to the self-illuminating monitor. The result is that concepts in architecture are now made of light from the very first mouse click. In the visualisation process, luminous space now predominates.

However, this begs the question: has the luminous impression (part and parcel of the perfect, rendered setting) become more important than the engineering or architectural concept itself? With the improved interplay of shades, contrast, and brilliance, can lighting actually obscure the point of a realistic simulation?

More Light Matters, after the break…

Light Matters: Seeing the Light with James Turrell

Light matters, a monthly column on light and space, is written by Thomas Schielke. Based in Germany, he is fascinated by architectural lighting, has published numerous articles and co-authored the book „Light Perspectives“.

From early nocturnal studies in a lonely hotel room to transforming a volcano in the world’s biggest landscape art project to, most recently, lighting up the Guggenheim in New York, the American artist James Turrell is driven by his fascination with light. He explores perception for visual experiences where light is not a tool to enable vision but rather something to look at itself.

More Light Matters, after the break…

James Turrell: Roden Crater, East Portal. 2010. Photograph by Florian Holzherr, www.architekturfoto.netJames Turrell: Afrum I (White), 1967. Projected light, dimensions variable. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Panza Collection, Gift 92.4175.  © James Turrell. Installation view: Singular Forms (sometimes repeated), Solomon R. Guggenheim. Museum, New York, March 5–May 19, 2004. Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.James Turrell, American, born 1943. The Light Inside, 1999. Neon and ambient light. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum commission, gift of Isabel B. and Wallace S. Wilson. © James Turrell.James Turrell: Rendering for Aten Reign, 2013. Daylight and LED light. Site-specific installation, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. © James Turrell. Rendering: Andreas Tjeldflaat, 2012 © SRGF.+ 10

Can Glowing Trees One Day Replace Electric Streetlights?

“We don’t live in nature any more – we put boxes around it. But now we can actually engineer nature to sustain our needs. All we have to do is design the code and it will self-create. Our visions today – if we can encapsulate them in a seed – [will] grow to actually fulfill that vision." - Andrew Hessel in a recent ArchDaily interview

"Engineering nature to sustain our needs" is exactly what the Glowing Plant Project aims to do. Synthetic biologist Omri Amirav-Drory, plant scientist Kyle Taylor and project leader Antony Evans are working together to engineer "a glow-in-the-dark plant using synthetic biology techniques that could possibly replace traditional lighting" - and perhaps even create glow-in-the-dark trees that would supplant (pun intended) the common street light.

How is this possible? Read on to find out.

Reconnecting the Subway with the Sky

In the early years of the New York City subway system, natural light played a dominant role in the illumination of subterranean spaces. The architecture emphasized a connection to the sky, often through skylights planted in the median of city avenues above — lenses in the concrete sidewalks.

However, it proved extremely difficult to keep the skylights clean, and light eventually stopped passing through. Subway authorities moved toward an almost exclusive reliance on electric lighting. While this allowed for greater flexibility in station design, permitting construction at any location and depth, it also created a sense of disorientation and alienation for some passengers.

For the design of Lower Manhattan's Fulton Center, Arup, in conjunction with design architect Grimshaw sought to reconnect the century-old subway system with the world above.

Read more about this "enlightening" subway station, after the break...

Courtesy of ArupCourtesy of ArupCourtesy of ArupCourtesy of MTA-CC/NYCT Arup+ 16

Lamp Lighting Solutions 2013 Awards Finalists

This year, the Lamp Lighting Solutions 2013 celebrated its 5th version. The awards are organized by LAMP, an architectural technical lighting company, specialized in, advising on and designing efficient solutions adaptable to any project by way of innovative and competitive products and services.

Lamp Lighting Solutions Awards 2013 closed its registration period with record on all the previous editions, with a total of 608 projects submitted from 52 countries and 61% internationalization.

More details on the winners after the break.

HafenCity University SubwayIn the footsteps of the giantsThe BeaconUna X siempre señala algo...+ 20

Light Matters: Louis Kahn and the Power of Shadow

Light matters, a monthly column on light and space, is written by Thomas Schielke. Based in Germany, he is fascinated by architectural lighting, has published numerous articles and co-authored the book „Light Perspectives“.

Does shadow have the power to give form to architecture? The increasing number of transparent buildings and LED installations would enforce the impression that light has eliminated the relevance of shadow. But to answer that question, let’s look back to a master of light whose architecture was shaped by shadow: Louis Kahn.

More Light Matters, after the break…

Light Matters: What Media Facades Are Saying

© Patrick Bingham-Hall
© Patrick Bingham-Hall

Light matters, a monthly column on light and space, is written by Thomas Schielke. Based in Germany, he is fascinated by architectural lighting, has published numerous articles and co-authored the book „Light Perspectives“.

Today we have permanent media façade installations worldwide that call for attention. With size, tempo, colour and brightness they stand up as individuals within the urban nightscape. Many of them send out their luminous messages in a broadcast mode. For this reason, neighbours, on occasion, demand an intense dialogue with regard to content and form of the media façade, especially as it’s often unclear whether light installations are architecture or advertisement.

However, in the same way a good book requires a storyteller, media facades demand curators to arrange exciting stories that fit into the site and suit the client. The following four examples show how media facades reflect the story of the buildings themselves - see them all, after the break...