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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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