Come rain or come shine
In Stockholm, ÅF Lighting has designed a media façade that reflects the weather, and helps build the brand of a major insurance company.
The head office of Swedish insurance company If sits directly above a busy motorway just north of Stockholm. It has always been an imposing building – but rather an anonymous one, with an unlit façade. ÅF Lighting was asked to do something about that.
The resulting solution is characterized by a soft, welcoming light, which matches the recently updated visual guidelines of the insurance company, and its concept of being “close to the people”.
For many years, the one distinguishing feature of the building was an old digital clock sitting on top of it, which also displays outside temperature, as a service to passers-by. ÅF Lighting kept this in mind when creating the lighting concept, which involves LED strips being fitted to the entire façade, with a dynamic light flowing through them like changes in the weather. The lighting scheme also reflects actual local weather conditions, enabling the public to experience the façade lit according to natural conditions such as wind, snow, rain, sun and clouds as well as the seasonal changes. The work also included to update the old clock with a new design and new media logo.
Apart from conveying a message about the weather, the lighting also gives the building a lighter, more dynamic feel, and provides an aesthetic experience for car-borne commuters on an otherwise eventless motorway.
”The project has presented challenges to which we have found innovative solutions”, says lighting designer Francesco Guastella. ”As part of the creative process, we worked closely with the customer to develop mood boards, inspired by their brand message about closeness to people. Eventually we decided that nature and its changes is something that everybody can relate to. Who has not gazed into the flames of an open fire, for instance, or at the waves lapping at a shore? This is what inspired us when creating the lighting programme that now flows along the facade.”
Installing the light rods proved to be the most challenging part of the project. As the façade faces a motorway, building cranes could not reach to all the necessary installation areas. Instead, climbers were hired to perform the work.
”It looked absolutely terrifying, but the results are extraordinary”, says an evidently pleased Francesco Guastella.
Now commuters are met by a beautiful façade each day, reflecting the weather in that particular moment. In other words, the lighting helps communicate the If brand, and adds value to people in their everyday lives.