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Façade illumination of Berlin Social Science Centre
Berlin, Germany

  • project Berlin Social Science Centre
  • lighting designer Bettina Wipfler, Edgar Schlaefle
  • photographer Bettina Wipfler

This Selux project on the Reich­pi­etschufer canal bank road in Berlin was car­ried out in no time at all – with around 6 months between light­ing tech­nol­ogy plan­ning, tender and imple­men­ta­tion. Since Decem­ber 2019, mod­u­lar Lif light columns have adorned the façade of the Social Sci­ence Centre in Berlin.

Founded in 1969, the Berlin Social Sci­ence Centre is an extra-mural research insti­tute in the field of the social sci­ences, which coop­er­ates closely with the uni­ver­si­ties in Berlin. As well as the post-modern part, dating from 1979 – 1988, the build­ing com­plex of the Berlin Social Sci­ence Centre also includes the only build­ing to have sur­vived the Second World War in this area of the city – the neo-renais­sance Impe­r­ial Insur­ance Office, which was con­structed in 1894.

Four Lif light columns based on the plans of light­ing plan­ners Bet­tina Wipfler and Edgar Schlae­fle now illu­mi­nate the façade of this listed build­ing. Each of the slim, cylin­dri­cal lumi­naires has three dif­fer­ent façade mod­ules that have been indi­vid­u­ally adapted based on light­ing-engi­neer­ing cal­cu­la­tions to their short dis­tance to the build­ing – the light columns are posi­tioned just five to seven metres away. The façade mod­ules attain highly uni­form light­ing, which avoids any light glare inside the build­ing while two twinspots in each of the Lif light columns ensure light is beamed onto its top sec­tion. For this, both twinspot and façade module are seated in indi­vid­ual mount­ing ele­ments so they can be aligned later on at the loca­tion.

Besides the state-of-the-art light­ing tech­nol­ogy, which ensures the his­toric build­ing façade of the Berlin Social Sci­ence Centre is an attrac­tive sight by night, the ele­gant-purist design of the Lif light columns has cre­ated a new set­ting that has also upgraded the road along­side the canal bank.

  • Cities are lively, vibrant places that are always in motion. Changes in use within communal spaces or multi-functional concepts are transforming urban spaces and with it, the requirements for lighting. As a modular system luminaire in the shape of a slim, cylindrical light column, Lif provides full freedom for the creation of light settings in urban spaces and the smart implementation of these using networked functions. More flexible than any other luminaire, it adapts itself to the widest variety of urban lighting tasks. By day, Lif occupies a reserved role in the cityscape but it is during darkness that it demonstrates its true versatility – depending on the configuration, it can be transformed into a luminaire for squares or pathways, an accent light, or even all of these at once, while at all times remaining a minimalist light column. Lighting tools like the pathway module or the Gobo projector for eyecatching projection effects expand and enhance the scope of planning. New spacer elements in four heights perfectly complement the versatile configuration options of Lif, while smart components like a loudspeaker module, camera, or WiFi element make this light column a key element in smart cities.

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