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046 MEDIA ARCHITECTURE / OPINION Photograph: Christian Richters


The Galleria Department Store in Seoul, Korea (2004) by UNStudio and Arup Lighting features a façade that projects a lively, ever changing surface. In total 4330 glass discs are mounted on the existing concrete skin of the building. The glass discs include special dicroic foil generating a mother-of- pearl effect during the day, whilst during the night each glass disc is lit by LEDs that are able to be programmed to create a multitude of effects.


media architecture. After sunset, the build- ing (or in a wider sense the architectural volume) undergoes a metamorphosis. What appears static and close during daytime shows often surprising character at night. Our projects are approached as follows; the first step in designing media architecture installations is the search for a suitable content. The character of the building and the purpose of design must be identified. Only once the holistic strategy is clear do we look into solutions on how to integrate the luminous night character into the ar- chitecture by means of integrating lighting hardware (be it LED pixels, projection or other technical solutions) - never the other way round.


32 more billboards arrayed on the street. Similarly, moving and flashing colours on façades may not be related to the building’s purpose, local context or cultural aspects. Too often, media architecture that is not purposeful and carefully integrated into the context, leads to stimulus satiation and information overload. As a result, it is ignored.


LESS IS MORE


In the process of a lighting designer looking into possible design concepts and aesthetic solutions it is crucial to consider the ap- pearance and character of the installation. Media architecture that leaves a lasting impression on human beings doesn’t have to be bombastic, large scale, bright, or ex- tremely colourful. Often the simple, small, minimalistic, but highly artistic interven- tions of media in architectural surfaces draw the most attention. Less is more. Instead of full colour RGB installations that allow for the most improper colour com- binations the designer should consider the


use of restricted tints of colour instead. That way, the installation radiates a much stronger identity, with a nice secondary effect namely reducing the lighting equip- ment costs.


Also the context in which the media instal- lation is situated needs to be evaluated carefully and is an essential starting point to come to a strong design solution. In urban street views that are bright, dynamic and vivid, an ‘antithesis’ by means of a minimalistic surface lit in intense white with a simple moving artistic text massage will be noticed much more than another loud media façade.


THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTENT DESIGN IN MEDIA ARCHITECTURE


The content of media, the type of character the building will show at night is even more important than the installation itself. Too often media architecture shows content that has not been designed in a careful way or has no relation to the building nor urban context. Displayed content is the essence of


Content design can be influenced by the following themes: the invitation to interact, dissemination of information, dynamic am- bience, wayfinding, branding of the building or company and luminous interventions with a purely artistic theme. In our projects, these themes are always connected to a unique story that evolves from an intense concept design phase including research on the building, branding idea and location. Media architecture can also be used in a strategic, commercial way by creating communicative buildings or façades that fascinate people and make them curious to return. In some cases, boundaries can even be pushed to allow for the following description: media architecture is art in architectural spaces.


GLOBALISATION TENDENCIES AND CULTURAL RESPECTFUL SOLUTIONS IN MEDIA ARCHITECTURE


Current globalisation tendencies have influ- enced architecture and design to the extent that the built environment has too often lost its identity, mostly due to standardisa- tion in construction and architecture. My job demands that I travel a lot. I would like to share my observations regarding risks and opportunities I see with current globali- sation tendencies reflected in architecture and lighting.


As you disembark the plane, airport architecture is mostly the same all over the globe: Grey corridors and waiting halls with much too bright, much too even white lighting, offering hardly any contrast, but


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