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King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture – ITHRA
Dhahran, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia

  • project ITHRA
  • architect Snøhetta, Norway
  • lighting designer Buro Happold, London / AhmadElq
  • general contractor ARAMCO, Dhahran
  • photographer Buro Happold
  • Representation LIGHTECH - Light Technologies Company Limited, Al Khobar branch office

When the area around the fis­hing vil­lage of Dammam became the first com­mer­cial oil field in Saudi Arabia in 1938, nobody could have fore­s­een that, almost 90 years later, it was to become the country‘s cul­tu­ral centre.

Yet not only the choice of loca­tion is sym­bo­lic. The King Abdula­ziz Center for Global Cul­ture, a buil­ding com­plex also known as the Ithra” (Arabic for enrich­ment), has been desig­ned as a col­lec­tion of stones that, alt­hough sepa­rate and dif­fe­ring in size, form a single unit as a mass of rock. The 80,000 m² faci­lity con­tains, among other things, a library, a know­ledge tower, an idea lab, a museum with four gal­le­ries, a cinema and the­a­tre as well as an energy exhi­bi­tion.

The ligh­ting in the exte­rior grounds is in har­mony with the natu­ral lan­gu­age of the archi­tec­ture. By day, the orga­nic design of the Selux Olivio lumi­nai­res blends per­fectly into the sur­roun­ding park lands­cape. At dusk the seven-metre Grande sized high poles from the Sis­tema design line with four arms and four lumi­naire heads each immerse the sur­roun­dings in a pleasant light – sty­lishly emp­ha­sis­ing this spec­ta­cu­lar buil­ding.

  • The organic design of Olivio and its functional versatility due to the modular design of this luminaire family is inspired by role models from nature. As a result Olivio forms the basis for light concepts in urban living areas where the focus is on the well-being of people. Olivio luminaire heads are available in the sizes Grande, Medio and Piccolo and can be combined with various arms and pole types from the three design lines Sistema, Floracion and Candelabra. Yet it is not just the design that can be adapted individually according to the situation – various optics and light colours from 2,700 to 4,000 Kelvin also cater for challenging lighting tasks efficiently and without glare: from illumination of paths and squares, floodlighting of façades and accent lighting of buildings. The new Olivio Cap also reduces light scatter and for special requirements, with its camera and loudspeaker modules, Olivio can be integrated into smart application scene. The special wooden-pole aesthetic emphasizes the Olivio's high quality, organic luminaire design. Combined with luminaire heads in a harmonoius colour tone such as bronze, this results in a timelessly comforting spatial ambience.

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