Scotia has put its solar-powered outdoor lighting columns under the scrutiny of some of the world’s leading environmentalists at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, to demonstrate the feasibility of emissions-free lighting even at northern latitudes. The project was conceived to support the Bella Center in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint in the run up to the UN climate conference, held in Copenhagen December 2009. The goal was to provide Scandinavia’s largest conference centre with an attractive, well-lit outdoor environment – but without contributing any carbon emissions.
A bit more about this project, “The lighting was expected to support a number of strategic goals: to promote the estate as a business attraction; emphasize the impact of the area; activate the site after working hours; highlight period features; and safeguard the original architecture. In order to encourage greater use of the public area, light has been used to reshape the space into something softer and more relaxed. The challenge was how to create a sense of intimacy in a cavernous space overlooked by tall 18th century warehouses. Designer Andrew Howis: “We were acutely aware that the Western Courtyard is dominated by these beautiful but slightly overbearing buildings. The role we played was in creating a more human scale at ground level without interfering with the fabric of the buildings.” To define a more intimate volume, ten custom pendants (designed by Speirs and Major Associates) provide a soft, warm glow of light without creating any clutter on the floor. The warmth at ground level is accentuated by a chill moonlit atmosphere in the surrounding canopy above.”
In keeping with other religious buildings, the mosque attaches special symbolic importance to light. Within the interior, light appears woven into the fabric of the building, with all equipment hidden from view. Most striking of all is the exterior lighting which appears to ebb and flow according to the lunar-cyclical Islamic calendar. Director Jonathan Speirs explains: “In the same way as the moon has an impact on the tides, we wanted the moon to have an impact on the building. Our idea was to have a building that, by full moon, is lit pristinely with white light, but with a textural quality evocative of clouds slowly drifting in front of a full white moon. As the moon wanes over its 28 day cycle, the lighting grows gradually bluer to signify darkness. On the fourteenth evening the mosque is lit in deepest blue.”
All three boardrooms and a lounge are executed in an overall design concept. Large round lampshades, spray painted gold on the inside, seem to cast light and shadow oval marks throughout the whole space. By this, a playful pattern of golden ovals contrasts with the angular cabinets and desks, which are executed in black stained ash wood. In the flooring the oval shaped forms continue by using light and dark grey carpet. Also, these ovals define the separate working areas.
The lounge area has, in combination with the white marble flooring these same light/shadow patterns that cover the bar and benches in silver fabrics. This area can be used for presentations or social working, with an integrated flat screen in the bar and data connections in all pieces of furniture. The existing space is set in a 17th century historic building, at one of the most famous canals of Amsterdam called ‘de gouden bocht’. All existing ornaments and details are painted white.
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