When light and architecture converge

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Is it possible to create the perfect space without light?

Here are two examples of how light is exquisitely used to sculpt the shape and highlight the volume of two striking museums.

Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Museum-of-Tomorrow-1_600px Photo Credits: © Andrés Otero

For the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, an ambitious and innovative urban lighting project was carried out at the spectacular “Museu do Amanhã” (Museum of Tomorrow).

Designed by the prestigious architect Santiago Calatrava, the museum has large openings that allow natural daylight to enter. The lighting team, led by creative director Monica Luz Lobo, would design an interior illumination scheme to complement this unusual ambience.

Lighting systems incorporating LED luminaires were installed. Indirect lighting illuminates the ceiling evenly, highlighting its curvature and creating a unique floating effect. Near-invisible lighting integrated in the concrete structure provides a range of changing effects, emphasizing the horizontal planes of the exhibition space.

Museum-of-Tomorrow-2_600px Photo Credits: © Andrés Otero

The result of the installation is a beautiful interplay between architecture and lighting. And thanks to the use of renewable energy sources, the project received the impressive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Overture Center for the Arts, Madison Wisconsin, USA

Overture1_LG_600 Photo Credits: Zane Williams

The Overture Center for the Arts, features a central multi-story rotunda that glows by day and by night. Its octagonal glass dome draws daylight into the majestic space, while another form of light takes over after dusk with dynamic LED lighting from Color Kinetics.

Designed by Cline Bettridge Bernstein, the lighting concept called for four tiers of cove lighting to encircle the rotunda’s balconies, forming concentric rings of illumination. The desire for programmable color and color-changing effects, coupled with the difficult-to-access location, led the design team to choose cove lighting fixtures that would allows for customizable color without the maintenance requirements of conventional lighting methods. In addition, the controllability of cove lighting by Color Kinetics allowed for the desired interaction of color with the plaster form of the rotunda’s walls. The lighting was programmed with a DMX system that stores and plays a two-hour program that shifts through various effects in a loop. The program includes color crossfades on all tiers simultaneously, and riser effects where the colors change one tier at a time. Additional effects were programmed for special occasions and seasonal events.

Overture2_LG_600px Photo Credits: Zane Williams

This crowd-pleasing light show provides the perfect complement to the Center’s forum for artistic expression.

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