Our practice was successful in the lighting design competition organised in the honour of the jubilee year of Finnish independence. The Valossa (In the Light) competition held by Senate Properties included four features, out of which VALOA design won two. The jury appreciated the artistry, flexibility, feasibility and the energy efficiency of the solutions.
The jury’s evaluations (in Finnish): senaattivalossa.fi/Valossa_arvostelupoytakirja.pdf
The Opera House
The starting points given in the program of the competition were to express an invitation, charm, warmth, openness and diversity. Lighting plays a key role in communication and attracting the attention of the public, and it must have the capacity to serve in various situations from everyday lighting to show and premiere lighting. The opera has weekly events besides actual opera and ballet shows. The term “main entrance” is problematic, since the Opera House has two entrances of equal importance, both of which need to be accentuated. The wish was to make the entrance square in the corner of Mannerheimintie street and Helsinginkatu street more appealing, particularly in the nocturnal environment. The darkness of the front plaza is a concern. Furthermore, the sculpture by Kai Tapper remains unseen in night-time. The entries correspond to the expectations with varying success. The best entries take the contest assignment into consideration in a wider sense and do not focus simply on details.
OT07, ”THE DIVA”
“The Diva” is a comprehensive and diverse entry; it enables separating the everyday from the ordinary performances and festivities. The entry takes the different sides of the building well into consideration. They can be highlighted on different occasions by taking advantage of lighting and media surfaces. Less attention has been given to the entrance square on the Mannerheimintie street. This, as well as the lights projected on the facades and on the tower would need to be developed in possible further planning. The solution enables carrying out pre-planned shows and situations via lighting control, which was considered to be cost-effective and user-friendly. Furthermore, the entry has taken the maintenance of the system well into account.
The discernibility of the National Museum, regardless of its central location, was problematic, in accordance with the competition program. In addition, the historical value of the building brings along significant restrictions. Its most significant outward point was said to be the main entrance, which ought to be inviting and communicate clearly about the building, as well as about the ongoing exhibition or event. The museum has a yard, which is an essential part of the museum’s activities, and its opportunities serve as a part of the exhibitions. The yard has outdoor lighting.
The entries that came in had significant differences. Some use the sharp details of the architecture and accentuating the silhouettes as a guideline, whereas some begin by lighting larger concepts and wall surfaces. One of the entries approached the issue in a more conceptual manner, through the content of a map guide. Comparing the entries is challenging, because they focus on different facades. The jury states that the site has clearly been a tough nut to crack: the tower is a significant and even iconic landmark in the cityscape of Helsinki. The National Museum has the restrictions of a historical building, although momentary freedom of them (openings of exhibitions, exhibition information, special events). The building can take short term accentuating, particularly with light. Attaching lighting fixtures and structures to the building must, however, be carefully thought through. The site received a total of five competition entries by the deadline.
Unlike the others, this entry begins by illuminating the part of the National Museum which the visitor comes across with best. Lighting the tower and the main entrance of the National Museum makes them attractive and discernible. The view has not, however, been ruined with excessively bright lighting. In addition, there are elements in the lighting which can support the museum activities. The entry stands out from the crowd with its balanced and clear presentation of the concept, visualisation and its execution. The different materials of the building have been illuminated according to their shape and colour, and the architectural essence has been well considered. The jury was fond of how the entry included the windows in the lighting concept. The entry has been divided into clear parts of a whole, which can, in the possible further development, be easily discarded or complemented when necessary. The lighting is technologically modern and adaptable to alterations, and the entry has illustrated its tentative execution model. The visible cabling has to be restricted at the site and the requirement for a partly wireless control system raises the estimated price.