Amandolier Building, Switzerland

Amandolier Building, Switzerland

STRUCTURES: Best Exterior Lighting Scheme – High Budget

Amandolier Building

Geneva, Switzerland

Lighting Design:
Lighting Design Collective, Spain

Société Privée de Gérance, Geneva, Switzerland

Additional Design:
UNSTATIC Technologies, UK

Loris von Siebenthal, Société Privé de Gérance

Main Lighting Suppliers:
Grupo MCI, Pharos Architectural Controls, Artistic License


The Amandolier Building in the centre of Geneva, Switzerland, is an elegant cubic structure housing offices and surrounded by a garden combining vegetation, metallic figures, black shale and water vapour in nothing less than a symphony. It was built in 2004 by Société Privée de Gérance.

The project re-imagines an iconic media façade. The minimalist architectural composition results in a glass cube. The façade is stripped to its essential quality, a glass skin, opening a dialogue with the surroundings, depending on the variations in the light conditions inside and outside. During the day, it is transparent but also reflects the vibrant life of the city and the ever-changing sky. When daylight fades, the façade communicates a new artistic expression with real-time data integration resulting in natural, calm movements of light and expressive geometries drawn from the architecture itself. The basic repetitive geometry results in an open canvas for lighting and conveys a sense of order.

The grid modules can be grouped in segments or floors playing with the perceived scale of the building. The first “content family” GEOMETRIES was inspired by the architecture. The second “content family” WEATHER, incorporates real-time temperature, wind and humidity data. The data is collected online, analysed and parameterised, triggering changes in digital content that is created continuously by visual algorithms. For example, cold temperatures result in cooler tonalities or a wind speed increase makes the patterns move faster. The design started its life from a study of what is called a cybernetic loop: when an object in an urban context affects its surroundings and vice versa, the surroundings affect the object.

The third “content family” 8 BIT plays with the façade grid, generating pixel art digital content considering each window like one pixel. The aesthetics for this kind of graphics recalls 8-bit and 16-bit computers and video game consoles, in addition to other old-school systems.

The renovation improved the aesthetics and energy efficiency of the façade lighting. The previous scheme was more than 10 years old, some light sources had been replaced, resulting in different tonalities and the controlling software was difficult to operate.

Lighting Design Collective developed, together with the manufacturer MCI, a custom luminaire to fit the existing niche in the façade. LDC requested that the shadows in the corners be minimised and that each window blind be evenly illuminated. Lighting Design Collective built a mock-up in Madrid to test three different combinations of optics and holographic diffusers. The chosen optics were elliptic 24 x 48 optics with perfect colour mixing. The new fixture control was designed to be flexible and allow for soft movements of light. There are 320 linear luminaires and 20 corner luminaires; a total of 7,360 RGBW LED chips. Every two chips or 120cm can be controlled individually, resulting in 3,680 pixels with four channels.

Custom software was developed for lighting control. Different variations from the three content families are automatically scheduled and also we can change the lighting with an online app from any location.