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NYT · The Digital Magazine of Lighting & architecture

No 589 • 2012

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Bella Light at Bella Sky Passion for preservation University of Chicago Trump International Hotel

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Bella Sky Hotel. Copehagen. P: Kaslov Studio

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Bella Light at Bella Sky A number of new hotels have opened in Copenhagen during the last few years. Some are traditional buildings, while others feature interesting architecture. And then there is Bella Sky Comwell. Designed by architects 3XN, and opened on 16 May 2011. A hotel which is in a category of its own in every aspect.

Photo: Kaslov Studio

Bella Sky Comwell is Scandinavia’s largest hotel, with 814 rooms in two angled towers which form a large V. The towers are inclined at a breathtaking 15 degrees – the world record for this kind of architecture, giving Bella Sky Comwell a place in the Guinness book of records. Another eye-catching idea which has brought Bella Sky Comwell into the media spotlight is that one of the floors in Tower 1 is reserved for women. This new initiative was introduced particularly in response to requests from women from the Middle East and Asia for areas where men have no access. The feminine dominance is strongly reflected in the interior design of the 20 beautiful rooms on this floor. The hotel developer is Bella Center – a conference and exhibition centre on Amager, close to Copenhagen city centre and airport.

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Bella Center was built in 1975 and was part of a large urban development project which also included a conference hotel. Unfortunately the urban development and hotel never eventuated due to the economic crisis of the 1970s. But the dream of a large conference hotel lived on, and in 2008 it could finally be realised. The infrastructure was in place, and the Ørestad urban district had shot up in the early 2000s. The architects, 3XN, have followed the developer’s intention of creating a unique quality building to the fullest. With its angled towers and eye-catching profile, the hotel has achieved icon status in record time. Yet it was a number of practical issues which gave rise to the unusual design. The hotel is built on a narrow site, bisected by a road. It is also subject to a maximum building height of 76 metres, due to flights in and out of Copenhagen airport. It would have been natural to build two parallel towers. But since these would have stood in each other’s shadow, the architects elected to offset their placement and heavily angle them in opposite directions. As a result, the majority of rooms have unimpeded views over Amager’s expansive landscape. The hotel interior design matches the innovative architecture and is based on the architect’s concept of New Nordic Cool. 3XN was responsible for the interior design of the 814 rooms

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and 30 meeting and conference rooms which present a sumptuous range of Scandinavian and international designs in the areas of furniture, lighting and accessories. Thomas Eriksson Arkitekter (TEA) from Stockholm have furnished four of the hotel’s restaurants, including the impressive Sky Bar on the 23rd floor in Tower 2. Both 3XN and TEA have been scouring the furniture and lighting catalogues. Over 70 suppliers from Scandinavia and Europe have contributed to the furnishings, and the range is very broad – spanning Danish design classics designed by Finn Juhl, Hans J. Wegner and Arne Jacobsen and contemporary international designers like Tom Dixon, Patricia Urquiola and Stefan Diez. Together with a number of special designs by 3XN and TEA. Louis Poulsen has also had a hand in Bella Sky Comwell. It was necessary to supplement natural light from the skylights with good general lighting in the large Restaurant BM. Louis Poulsen developed a special fixture for this purpose in cooperation with 3XN and Rambøll, with design references to the hotel’s characteristic prism shapes. The recessed fixture was produced in various versions, fitted with T5 fluorescent tubes of various wattages and controlled by HF DALIs. Another detail can be found in the shafts for the skylights. To avoid these appearing as black holes at night, Targetti Forum standard fix-

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tures have been installed on the two long sides – a simple and striking solution. Louis Poulsen’s presence is even more visible in the hotel rooms, where AJ wall lights have been used for lighting at the beds. AJ table lights and floor lights have also found their way to many rooms. This series was originally designed by Arne Jacobsen for the SAS Royal Hotel in the heart of Copenhagen in 1959. With its conical shade, it has become a design classic on par with the Egg and the Swan, which were also designed for the hotel. You could say that choosing the AJ series completes the circle, as irrespective of how different the backgrounds of the two hotels have been, they have each become icons in their own time.

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P: Jesper Ray

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Passion for preservation

Photo: Jesper Ray

Christiania is not only an oasis in the city of Copenhagen. It is also Copenhagen’s second-largest tourist attraction, surpassed only by Tivoli. No-one could have predicted its current status when it declared its independence in 1971. The former military area it Christianshavn had been lying fallow for several years. This waste of good buildings and a fantastic setting inspired a motley group of anarchists, squatters and residents of Christianshavn to establish an independent society which gave free reign to individual expression. That was 40 years ago, and today the independent state of Christiania is an integrated part of Copenhagen, with restaurants, music venues, shops and homes, and its own organic style of architecture along the embankments. But its independence and collective form of governance with direct democracy has been retained. And its slogan from

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the happy days in 1971 also lives on: “May peace, love and unity prevail on Mother Earth and everywhere.” In an old gunpowder store from the 1800s, thoroughly renovated over the years, we find Ceramicist, Ane-Katrine von Bülow. Her apartment is spread across two floors and contains a lovely, chaotic mix of home and workshop. A wonderful place with a small, unique collection of PH lights. It was actually her former husband who loved the old lights, but as a craftsperson, von Bülow has become captivated over the years by the excellent lighting and thought-out design – and the fact that some lights are around 80 years old adds to their appeal. A pendant light with three metal shades, all of different colours, hangs over the dining table in the eat-in kitchen. It looks a little unusual – especially the bottom shade, made of unpainted copper. Is it a genuine PH light? Yes, the parts are genuine enough, but it was originally a glass pendant. Unfortunately the children smashed the glass shades a few years ago, and the metal shades were found around about

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among collectors. One of the intentions of PH’s original light system was actually that the shades should be easily replaceable. This particular case might be slightly unorthodox, but it does not detract from its authenticity. Two authentic table lamps have also found homes – on a speaker in the kitchen, and on a cluttered work table on the first floor. One has a three-shade top, the other a two-shade top, and both have original glass lower shades. The stands are

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made of bronze with a twisted brown cord and an old-fashioned Bakelite plug. Just how they should be. An old PH 3/2 pendant with an opalescent glass shade, which has only partly survived the ravages of time, hangs in the workshop adjacent to the eat-in kitchen. For many lighting enthusiasts and collectors of PH lights, such as von B端low, it has become something of a challenge to find an appropriate light source ever since the old incandescent bulbs were discontinued. But thankfully an excellent alternative has become available in the form of the new halogen incandescent lights. They have the same fitting shape and size as the old incandescent bulbs, and provide the same point-shaped light.

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The Albertslund Mini at The

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Illuminating Education:

The Albertslund Mini at The University of Chicago Founded in 1890, The University of Chicago is one of America’s most prestigious learning institutions – but in addition to its reputation for academic rigor, the University also boasts one of the most architecturally rich campuses in the nation. The sprawling 221 acre University grounds, spread across the Hyde Park and Woodlawn neighborhoods some seven miles south of downtown Chicago, is an architectural feast. The original Collegiate Gothic style architecture gave way to buildings by some of the mid-century’s most iconic modernist architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Eero Saarinen.

Photo: Saari Photography

Today, impressive new facilities have joined these historic structures, and all across campus, it is Louis Poulsen’s Albertslund Mini post by Jens Møller-Jensen, that illuminates their diverse facades. When a campus re-lighting plan, which aimed to bring brightness, safety and security to pedestrian areas, was drafted in the summer of 2007, this landscape of stark architectural contrasts, posed a unique challenge: “We had to consider two fixtures: one with a historical aesthetic in keeping with the Gothic architecture of many campus buildings, and one contemporary fixture, reflecting the progressive thinking and personality of the University,” says Peter A. Hugh of Hugh Lighting Design, the firm behind the illumination project.

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Drawn to its timeless form and function, quality construction and ease of maintenance, Mr. Hugh chose the Albertslund Mini post as the contemporary fixture. With its minimalist, subtle design, the post seemed the ideal choice for a campus that already offered many visually imposing views. Initially, 200 Albertslund posts were installed and both Mr. Hugh and campus management were thrilled with the results. “At night the soft

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glow of the Albertslund defines the walkways providing subliminal cues of circulation throughout the campus. The high vertical illumination provides glare free soft lighting on faces aiding to the sense of safety on an urban campus,” explains Mr. Hugh. Because of the fixture’s wide light distribution, fewer posts were needed overall, allowing spaces and views to remain unobstructed. The project was completed in summer 2008, and subsequently, additional Albertslund posts have been installed – the fixture is now the standard lamp for campus. Indeed, designed over thirty years ago, and the recipient of the prestigious Danish Design Classical award in 2002, the Albertslund Mini continually proves its enduring relevance. However, for this particular project, it wasn’t just about looks – the fixture had to stand up to one additional, tough test - the brutal Chicago winter: “Louis Poulsen’s reputation and our experience with their quality assured the University that the Albertslund post lights could withstand it all,” concluded Mr. Hugh.

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High-lighting in the Windy City:

The Kipp post

Photo: Saari Photography

at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago The birthplace of the skyscraper, or so Chicago is often called - home to some of the most iconic buildings in America, the mid-western metropolis is at once a testament to structural engineering, and an architectural feast. One of the latest additions to the legendary Chicago skyline, is the Trump International Hotel & Tower, completed in early 2009, the 423-meter high building, designed by iconic Chicagobased firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM), is considered to be one of development tycoon, Donald Trump’s, most architecturally impressive endeavors to date. A short elevator ride to the sixteenth floor, reveals the aptly named SIXTEEN, a Michelin starred restaurant noted as much for its

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breathtaking design, as for its exquisite cuisine. Designed in collaboration between Ivanka Trump and architects Joe Valerio and Randy Mattheis of Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, a Chicago-based firm that frequently works in the hospitality industry, the eatery has been a critically acclaimed success since opening day. Entering the two-story dining room, the first thing to truly catch the eye, is the view: framed between two floor-to-ceiling, glass enclosed wine rooms, is the magnificent Chicago skyline – to get a closer look, diners can step through enormous glass doors, onto The Terrace at Trump, an expansive outdoor space. There, amidst the stunning views of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, the Wrigley building clock tower, and The Tribune tower, stand half a dozen Louis Poulsen Kipp posts - the elegant, minimalist design of Alfred Homann. Working in collaboration with Jerry DeRousse of KSA Lighting, a Chicago-based lighting designer, the architects developed an illumination scheme that would make the transition from inside to outside seamless – the exterior lighting also had to turn the terrace into an intimate space, while not overwhelming the view of the skyline, when viewed from the interior space. “We wanted the terrace to come across as an extension of the interior space,” says Mr. Mattheis, “the aesthetic of

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the restaurant is luxurious and contemporary – and the Louis Poulsen Kipp fixture fit this criteria, and more.” With its minimalist, adaptable aesthetic, and its downward, symmetrical illumination with a wide, gentle distribution of light, the Kipp post proved to be the perfect solution – it solved the lighting challenge and blended organically with the bold architectural surroundings. “The Kipp lamp worked well because it provides warm pools of indirect light that create an intimate space for guests seated on the outdoor terrace. We have used Louis Poulsen fixtures regularly in our work, and we have always valued the quality of design, the product, and the attainable price point, said Mr. Mattheis, “this was one more instance where LP was able to offer a product that provided a solution to our challenge.”

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NYT 589