Wave of Light

  • contemporary architecture

"T+T Architects" took part in the tender for the development of the design concept of the second construction stage of "Alkon" business center. The main decorating element of the public areas of this complex, according to the architects' plan, is a parametric lighting structure.


The subject of the competitive bid was the public areas of "Alkon" business center located on the Leningrad Avenue in the neighborhood of "Sokol" metro station - a territory of some 700 square meters that in fact is only separated from the noisy highway by its fully-glazed facade. On the one hand, this is all ultra-contemporary and fashionable-looking but, on the other hand, such a constant visual connection with the city presented a serious challenge - "T+T Architects" were not only looking to avoid the "aquarium" effect but also to counterbalance the overloaded highway with an interior design that looks interesting both from a speeding car and from a traffic jam.

"This area also had its evident strong points, and we at once decided to make them work for the project's benefit - for example, its dimensions or the presence of substantial-looking surfaces that gave us a lot of opportunities for the grand-scale plastic work, and for creating the thought-through details on the line of human vision - shares the leader of "T+T Architects" Sergey Trukhanov - Generally speaking, it was this particular combination of the original givens - the elongated configuration of the premises, the glazed facade, and the blind "background" walls that prompted us the idea of creating a space that is light, full of air, and that is dominated by one grand-scale centerpiece that attracts everybody's attention".

Before getting down to creating such an indoor "anchor", the architects most carefully thought out the functional plan of the future central lobby. Proceeding from the assumption that a lobby must be a comfortable area to be in both for the employees of the companies that rent offices here and the numerous visitors of the center, the architects of the project singled out a few different zones in it. At the entrance, the visitors find the so-called "service area" - compactly placed ATM's and payment terminals, while the central role is naturally given to the reception counter that the architects give an ostentatiously elongated shape that traces the line of the main facade.

Thanks to such a solution, the counter in fact splits the lobby into two major parts - the main and the transit one. The first one includes a small expo area, as well as a waiting and a meeting area that consists of separate cozy clusters grouped along a translucent wall; the other part is in fact a corridor, only one that has no clear boundaries, providing access to the underground parking garage, and to the elevator lobbies. The side surfaces of the reception counter are navigating panels that help the visitors to find their bearings in the building of the business center and simultaneously give this element a more monumental look, letting it unabashedly dominate over the lobby area.

The architects propose to execute the reception counter from the natural Italian granite of a light-beige color, achieving, by the high-quality polishing and calibration of this material, a seamless finish of its vertical and horizontal surfaces. As for the lobby, its walls are also going to be light-colored, finished with slabs of imitated stone texture. The sterility of the white color is meant to be diluted by the "accent" materials - copper and wood, as well as stainless steel, from which the fittings and the floor moldings are made.

Placing their bets on the simplicity and laconism of the interior palette of the central lobby, the architects in fact treated it as a background. "It is a background for the parametric lighting system, be that a crystalline grid or a wave that this spacious and light area turns into the main hero of the play" - comments the head of the concept department of "T+T Architects" Polina Voevodina.

Settling on the lights as the "visiting card" of the entire project, "T+T Architects" were looking to find for them a shape that is meaningful yet reserved. After a long deliberation they settled on the image of a wave - reasonably abstract and at the same time clearly echoing the plastic of the main facade that looks like it is wrapped in broad horizontal stripes of glass and concrete. The wave of light is to run through all the public areas of the first floor, the architects dividing it into two, though intertwining, yet still separate flows one of which serves to light the transit zone, and the other to serve the main one respectively. The project provides for two options of execution of the wave: this can be a "cloud" wave consisting of thin "rays" of photodiodes running parallel to one another, or a "grid" wave in which these "rays" form crystal-like clutches built on the principle of parametric design.

In both options each single light can be individually controlled which will allow for a great multitude of possible lighting scenarios for the wave of light created by "T+T Architects": it can change its intensity depending on the time of the day as well as the weather outside, backlight separate areas when people are there, create a glittering effect and so on. And, to make the cost sheet of the project more humane, the architects propose a third option as well -using as the basic element of the "wave", instead of the lamps, a figure made of organic glass or plastic. Thanks to their concave shape, together these figures form the same elegant trail waving above the lobby, while the necessary effect is created by means of backlighting the entire structure from all sides with spotlights. Accidentally, this solution, besides its less expensive cost, has extra benefits such as an interesting play of shades and reflections. If we add a projector here as well, the "wave" will turn into a multifunctional media object. 

Text by: Sergey Trukhanov, Anna Martovitskaya
Translated by Anton Mizonov

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