Lighting the new headquarters of the European Council in Brussels has been a long and complex process involving an advanced degree of cooperation between the various studios working on the new building. iGuzzini has been responsible for designing a lighting system that emphasizes the original shape and layout of the building that brings together past and future and includes recycling the glass and fixtures from old buildings in various European countries. The main difficulties in the project have concerned the height of the building, the fact that it is mainly built of glass and the need to conceal the luminaires as far as possible in order to emphasize only their light.
To create the effect the architect, Philippe Samyn, was looking for, iGuzzini has designed a system that involves projecting light onto the glass Lantern that sits in the centre of the new space and was created along with the facade. The new facade surrounds the entire L-shaped, 1960s building and is built from glass, aluminium and oak recycled from existing door and window frames.
The lights are aimed in a vertical direction as the luminaires are positioned along the vertical aluminium framework that supports the structure and they are secured with a fastening system specially designed with the Belgo Metal company, so it cannot be seen. iGuzzini has also developed a special luminaire consisting of a 70x59x1770 mm aluminium module on which 10 x 90 W 48 optic LED Laser Blade optics are inserted with a micro-prismatic screen and blind parts with serigraphy. The module controls two optics: one with a 3600 lm warm white 3000K colour temperature and the other with a 4000 lm cool white 5000K colour temperature. The final optic is approximately 56° with 4674 real lm. The luminaires are controlled by a DALI system that creates a tuneable white effect that can be programmed to suit different times and events during the day.
The luminaires have been installed along the vertical ribs that sustain the facade in the area defined by the ideal projection of the Lantern. For the parts outside this area, a number of blind modules have been installed to ensure light consistency throughout the building without using direct light beams. The architect also specifically requested a sort of contrasting “eclipse effect” to emphasize the three-dimensional nature of the lantern. Here, too, the design is based on projecting light via a special luminaire with Linealuce optics. In this case the aluminium module has two 11 x 39 W 3000K warm white 2800 lm LED Linealuce Compact optics. The luminaires are aimed precisely at the points where the 1960s building meets the Lantern so the light seems to filter out of a sort of non-existent gap between the two structures. The Lantern is covered by serigraphy glass and these designs limit the problem of glare for the people who need to work inside it. Moreover, the luminaires have been arranged so that they never intercept the flow of people that move along the corridor located on the outside of the Lantern. To light the offices and conference halls, an indirect light effect has been created using an integrated diffused system supplemented by various spotlights. Recessed Deep minimal luminaires were chosen here, with a high performance reflector, HIT (CDM-TC) lamps with a 30°, 35W 3000 K 4000 lm optic with an UGR<19. Reflex Fixed, adjustable and wall washer Reflex luminaires have also been used in all the offices and conference halls. In the conference rooms the installation of the luminaires was developed in close collaboration with the architect who initially wanted to create a completely free and adjustable installation, especially for the recessed luminaires.
This solution was not possible, however, because mounting the metal structure this would have required on the ceiling would have been extremely expensive and would also have created heavy, invasive shadows.
A different installation was therefore designed that exploits the modularity of the tiles that make up the ceiling. The recessed luminaires are installed on the tiles in a fixed position, 5 cm away from the upper side and 5 cm from the left side, as the tiles can be rotated. The end result is a layout that allows the positions oft he recessed luminaires to be varied slightly, so distribution is almost random, but also succeeds in reproducing concentric ellipses that reflect the layout of the conference halls below.
Different switch on procedures have been included so the level of lighting can be adjusted, which is essential for filming activities.
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