Lighting and innovative facades


Facades has been a theme of sorts on Building blog over the last couple of months. Re-reading the articles sent me off in various interesting directions.

Mader Stublic Wiermann is a design team based in Berlin that specialises in the use of lighting to create, to my mind, spectacular facades that transform the shape and nature of buildings.

Chelsea Art Museum by day

Above is the facade of Chelsea Art Museum (built in 1850) in New York by day. And below is MSW’s plan for its light facade.

Chelsea Art Museum - Mader Stublic Wiermann

Chelsea Art Museum - Mader Stublic Wiermann

MSW explain:

A layer of vertical LED-rods will be installed on the facade of the Chelsea Art Museum, with a gap in between the building and the new structure. The LED structure will surpass the height of the building, to be in line with the taller buildings immediately surrounding the Museum.

The installation will feature abstract images moving across the building, at times even appearing to extend the structure of the Museum beyond its actual size… The effect will be to make it seem as though a new structure is being developed over the original facade as the viewer is watching.

The new facade does not replace the existing one, rather, it plays with its surface and volume. Consequently, art, normally contained within a museum, will step beyond the confines of the building to interact with the city and its inhabitants.

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, realities:united

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, realities:united

Above is the illuminated facade designed by Realities:United (again from Berlin) for the Espacio de Creación Artística Contemporánea in Cordoba.

The facade facing the river, the main face of the building to the outside, is designed as a screen perforated by numerous circular holes where monochromatic LED lights are located with the colours red, green and blue.

Using a computer program, video signals will generate images, texts or colours which will be reflected in the surface of the river and will permit installations specifically designed for the location.

During the day, natural light will filter through the perforations and inundate the interior covered walkway.

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, realities:united

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, realities:united


Changing tack slightly for those faced with the more prosaic task of dealing with monolithic concrete facades there are some low tech solutions.

anArchitecture reports on Carsten Nicolai’s autoR facade, the production of which is described as ‘a self-organizing process’.

Visitors actively contribute to the design of the facade by individually applying stickers designed by the artist.

Looks quite fun!

Carsten Nicolai, autoR, 2010 Photo: Benjamin Pritzkuleit

Carsten Nicolai, autoR, 2010 Photo: Benjamin Pritzkuleit

Or there’s Facadeprinter who have developed ‘an inkjet-printer in architectonic scale’.

The Facadeprinter is a communication-tool. Even the application of the artwork is part of the message; straight and direct. A work of art is converted to a vector or pixel file and shot dot by dot onto the facade. The viewer watches the emerging artwork like the drawing of a magic pen.

Three Stones - Facadeprinter

Three Stones - Facadeprinter

According to the blurb Facadeprinter has three main applications. Large-scale distance printing, live performance and, most intriguingly, communication in a crisis.

Outlook |  Communication in a Crisis - Facadeprinter

Outlook | Communication in a Crisis - Facadeprinter

They explain:

The Facadeprinter can be integrated into post-disaster relief efforts. The machine’s printing process allows the quick installation of new visual communication displays. For example, the locations of medical facilities, sources of fresh water supply, danger zones or collection points can be marked for effective communication.

We developed this concept for the International Design Forum of the Japan Design Foundation (JDF) in Osaka. The Scenario: A fatal disaster strikes a city, causing widespread suffering and a loss of orientation in the chaos. Printing instructions onto walls provides orientation and information, affording an effective and economical method of assisting agencies and organizations in post-disaster relief efforts.

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4 Responses to “Lighting and innovative facades”

  1. Sushil Jain Says:

    Interested in Facade Lighgting of large buildings by using LEDs.
    Need details of various options and provisions required in the structure of buildings for this purpose.

    Regards Sushil Jain

  2. martinleungwai Says:

    I am in a competition for a public art feature to design a light based art work for a 7 storey carpark. Cheers for the blog 🙂

  3. Benedikte Ranum Says:

    Thanks for commenting, Martin – and best of luck in the design competition! Would be very interesting to see some images of your proposal. All the best, Benedikte

  4. All day Long Says:

    I am actually happy to glance at this web site posts which includes lots of valuable facts,
    thanks for providing such statistics.

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