SILO 468, Helsinki, Finland
THE CHALLENGE: Create a visually striking re-use of an abandoned oil storage tank that would not only serve as new public space, but in turn, could help spark planned redevelopment efforts in Helsinki in time for the 2012 World Design Capital. THE SOLUTION Using a grid of LEDs and innovative control known as “ﬂocking” systems, lighting group LDC came up with custom software that responds to real-time weather conditions, including wind speed and direction, to make Silo 468’s 1,280 white LEDs appear to ﬂicker and sway on its surface. PROJECT CREDITS
Client: City of Helsinki Architects: Poyry Finland Oy Lighting Designer: Lighting Design Collective Project Manager: HKR Executive PRODUCTS
3-watt LED domes provided by Traxon Technologies. Visit www.traxontechnologies.com or Circle 289. Control system provided by e-cue. Visit www.ecue.com or Circle 290.
TRUE PUBLIC SPACE There is no charge to groups or individuals who wish to stage an event at Silo 468. “So far, there have been TV show filmings, poetry evenings, weddings, dinners, dance events and a fire juggler,” says designer Tapio Rosenius. When there are no events, the interior becomes a quiet and contemplative space.
lighting designers can change light patterns by
from the original interior rust patterns, except
having the software respond to parameters such
for the north wall, which has no perforations,”
for the very late evening, Rosenius says. All the
as wind speed, direction, temperature, snow
interior lighting from the suspended LED grid
and the clearness of the night sky. The “swarm”
Sunlight ﬁlls the interior space with dap-
aspect of the software refers to its mimicking of
pled shadows during the day. “With sunlight, the
the patterns of birds or insects in ﬂight, as well
silo’s exterior appears to glimmer and sparkle
as schools of ﬁsh. “The program creates a par-
like the surface of the water below,” he indicates.
ticle system combining motion behavior of these
To replicate similar effects at night, the
The warm white of the exterior turns red
media mesh is reﬂected back into the space from the dark red-painted walls. At midnight, exterior ﬂoodlights turn the surface deep red for an hour. “The color refers to the container’s former use as a repository for
creatures to create organic and non-repetitive
team called for the installation of 1,280 custom
the production of energy that is still ﬁnding its
animations,” says Rosenius.
LED luminaire domes. Each light is controlled
way out,” believes Rosenius. “At 2:30 a.m., when
individually. At a relatively warm 2700K, the
the last ferry goes past Silo 468 on its way to the
control of the LED array is executed using pixel
LEDs, supplied by Traxon, are ﬁtted behind the
island of Suomenlinna, the lights go off.“
mapping techniques. LDC’s control application
cut-outs of the structure’s surface. Also behind
was developed in OpenFrameworks and runs in
the holes are 450 steel mirrors that respond to
notes the actual power load of the structure dur-
an e:cue Lighting Control Engine mx server.
ing operation is about 2 kW, or roughly 2 watts
Data is gathered through an RSS feed, and
“The system dials out every ﬁve minutes for
Despite the intense light show, Rosenius
per. sq. meter.
new data,” Rosenius explains. “The patterns are
Nature also comes to bear in the use of natural
ﬂuid and never repeat. They are basically slow,
light. The tank is perforated with 2012 holes—a
but speed up in response to the wind velocity,
silo’s metamorphosis, a ﬂoor was installed, along
reference to the city’s year-long celebration.
producing constantly changing murals of light,”
with a rigging infrastructure, power, water and
“Daylight seeps in through the openings derived
emergency and cleaning lighting.•
34 • 01.13 • ARCHITECTURAL SSL
The cost of launching the silo structure into its new life was $2.6 million (U.S.). As part of the
Chronicling the Advancement of LED and Solid-State Lighting in the Built Environment.