Thursday 25 July 2013

Technically highly sophisticated lighting solution for the Old Port of Marseille, France

As the Euro­pean Capi­tal of Cul­ture 2013, Mar­seille has inve­sted around 660 mil­lion euros in the devel­op­ment of a new cul­tu­ral infra­struc­ture and has made some las­ting chan­ges to the image of the city. Traf­fic-redu­cing mea­su­res have been intro­du­ced in the Old Port, the heart of the old city centre, which has now become a place for people to stroll and enjoy the sur­roun­dings and views. The idea for the ligh­ting stems from Yann Ker­salé. Selux have devel­o­ped and rea­li­sed a tech­ni­cally highly sophis­ti­ca­ted ligh­ting solu­tion.

The place where the Greeks cast anchor and foun­ded their colony Mas­sa­lia” 2600 years ago has become an invi­ting urban space that has recently under­gone con­si­de­ra­ble reno­va­tion. Lands­cape archi­tect Michel Des­vigne together with teams from Foster + Part­ners / Tan­gram Archi­tects have com­ple­tely rede­s­ig­ned the entire 100,000 square metre area. What had once been a quaint old port area had turned into a major traf­fic inter­sec­tion with mul­ti­ple lanes, and was cer­tainly not attrac­ting people to use the loca­tion as a lei­sure spot any more.

The ring road around the har­bour has been scaled back, the dock area trans­for­med into a large square for pede­strian and events, and a moder­nist shel­ter from the sun that goes by the name of Ombri­ère” added. Spen­cer de Gray, Head of Design at Foster + Part­ners in London, descri­bes the pro­jects as an invita­tion to the people of Mar­seille to again stage and enjoy events, mar­kets and fes­ti­vals in this grand space”.

The ligh­ting con­cept devel­o­ped by Yann Ker­salé lends the space a new dimen­sion. Seven­teen 16.5 metre and eight 23.5 metre high custom desig­ned Olivio pole-top design lumi­nai­res struc­ture the space and at the same time illu­mi­nate the exten­sive pro­me­nade area right up to the water’s edge. The ultra-tall slim­line poles trig­ger asso­ci­a­ti­ons with the masts on sai­ling ships. The lumi­nai­res are equip­ped with 90 Watt or 140 Watt Cos­mo­po­lis lamps and arran­ged spi­rally around the upper sec­ti­ons of the poles in dif­fe­rent sized groups. Their natu­ral, orga­nic design pro­vi­des a subtle con­trast to the geo­me­tric layout of the pede­strian square.

A major com­po­nent of Yann Kersalé’s ligh­ting design are the 2.5 metre high “LED Skins”: ultra-flat, reflec­tive stain­less steel hou­sings with laser­cut designs, and equip­ped with RGB LEDs. These clad the eight large poles in the centre of the port area, simi­lar to the bark on tree trunks. The resul­ting, amorp­hous loo­king surfa­ces can be used as LED screens for dis­playing video art cre­a­ted espe­ci­ally for this loca­tion by the artist himself. Dif­fe­rent videos are shown depen­ding on the time of year or the spe­ci­fic occa­sion. Images and pat­terns in light that evoke asso­ci­a­ti­ons to flo­wing water under­score the intri­cate link bet­ween city and sea – and reflect the cen­tu­ries-old his­tory of the citi­zens of Mar­seille and how they con­nect to the Medi­ter­ra­nean.

Pro­ject: The Old Port of Mar­seille
Client: MPM Mar­seille Pro­vence Métro­pole
Archi­tect: Foster and Part­ners / Tan­gram archi­tects
Lands­cape Archi­tect: Michel Des­vigne
Ligh­ting Desig­ner: Yann Ker­salé – AIK
Elec­tri­cal Engi­nee­ring: Ingé­rop Con­seil et Ingé­ni­e­rie
Elec­tri­cal Instal­la­tion: Citeos / Cege­lec
Pho­to­grap­her: Xavier Boy­mond

Selux Pro­ducts: Olivio Flora­cion. Sis­tema. Can­de­la­bra.

July 2013

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