Light Music

Light Music uses light as a sculptural material to interpret music and shape the experience of architecture in a new residential lobby in Washington DC. This unique project combines digital fabrication methods with traditional hand techniques to create an immersive world with its own pulse and rhythm. The concept of the project was to celebrate the musical history of Washington DC.

To do this 23 custom fabricated LED backlit panels were made using the score of Duke Ellington songs visualized similarly to the patterns on player piano rolls and then CNC milled into aluminum composite panels. The surface of the panels were then hand gilded with aluminum leaf and the holes covered with translucent acrylic. With the help of SLIM COVE DIM, the light glows through the panels and creates a three-dimensional aura and glistens on the surface of the aluminum leaf creating mysterious luminescent light forms. It also reflects on a mirrored tile wall shaping a syncopated rhythm that dances and shimmers. The combination of computer-driven production with hand applied techniques creates an intriguing techno and retro feel.

TROV L50 is used to illuminate CNC milled panels composed of interlocking shapes that expand across the surface of the walls. The light washes the organic edges of this topography extending the sculptural experience of the space in new ways. It creates an interplay of highlight and shadow that dances almost in response to the pattern above. It bounces off the wall surfaces across to the tiles and back again literally creating a chamber of light that envelopes each person who walks through the illuminated space.

Different scenes are created throughout the day by using an advanced multi-zone system. First, near the building entrance is a photocell that reads ambient daylight and controls both sets of LEDs based on this data. Second, three dimming sequences have been set to create different moods throughout the day; first, daytime, which is the brightest and full of energy; second, evening – dusklike; and third, nighttime, which brings the deep feeling of the music to the fore.

Overall, the approach to integrating light in Light Music is innovative in its methodology. The question is asked: how can light’s multi-dimensional and exponential properties be used? The answer: light creates the rhythm, the speed and the experience of the space. It comes alive as a physical material subtly shaping form, and it defines the character and mood of the architecture.

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Washington DC

Lighting Design
A+A Studio