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060 MEDIA ARCHITECTURE / GALLERIA CENTERCITY, CHEONAN, KOREA


The Moiré pattern of the façade can be seen during the daytime and is the result of two grids being overlaid at an angle.


Located 80km from Seoul, the Galleria Centercity shopping mall in Cheonan dwarfs even the Galleria Department Store in the Korean capital, a project completed by UNStudio in 2004. This latest UNStudio creation is not only breathtaking in its scale – the media façade is a vast 12,600sqm – but the dynamic animations produced by more than 22,000 LED lighting points wrap the structure in a shimmering skin that stands out impressively against its urban setting. The high-power LED spotlights manu- factured by Zumtobel and developed by lighting designers for the project, ag Licht, are designed to merge almost impercepti- bly into the façade. The coloured lighting sequences that ripple across the surface of the building – sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly – exert a fascination on visitors to the mall. “In Asia, people don’t just visit shopping malls in order to consume. In the Far East, shopping malls like Galleria Centercity are also a place for social interaction,” says Ben van Berkel, the architect in charge of the shopping mall and UNStudio’s director. This is why, when designing the building, the Amsterdam architecture firm took pains to ensure it was very user friendly. The shop-


ping mall offers much more than merely op- portunities to shop; it even provides various cultural meeting places.


“Shaping the shopping mall as a living space required, externally as well as internally, a unique, creative design force capable of attracting visitors, inviting them to linger and motivating them to return,” adds van Berkel.


Bonn-based ag Licht was responsible for the lighting design for both the interior and exterior of the Galleria with Cologne-based LightLife assisting them with the technical content and playback control of the façade. The scheme won the ‘Best New Project Award’ at the recent Professional Light- ing Design Conference in Madrid when the judges stated that the project ‘... demon- strates the complete integration of a media installation into architecture, revealing no visible installation elements during daytime or night-time’.


The innovative LED structure is completely aligned with the form of the architecture and the lighting effects are achieved using light reflected from the façade elements. Both ag Licht and LightLife developed the lighting design, control and content produc- tion with UNStudio very early on in the


design process.


The pixels are created by indirect lighting leading to a pleasant homogeneous image from nearby as well as from a distance. This differs from the majority of media facades that offer a direct view into the lighting fixture. Due to their low fill factor the impression of a uniform illuminated area arises only from a distance away. Andreas Barthelmes, project manager for LightLife, explains the idea behind the façade design. “The façade was chosen to show videos with a low resolution. Two façade areas most frequently looked at were equipped with a higher resolution. Thus we could respond to some extent to the owner’s request to picture concrete images.” Wilfried Kramb, project manager and co- founder of ag Licht, adds: “By selecting dif- ferent kinds of resolution and LEDs we were able to meet both the technical require- ments and the budget.” The architects developed a special structure for the façade consisting of double asym- metrically overlaid and vertically arranged aluminium sections that create a moiré effect. The inner layer of lamellas con- sists of an aluminium panel. For the outer


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