Harbin Opera House, China
PLACES: Best Interior Lighting Scheme – High Budget
Harbin, China, known as the ‘Ice City’, houses an expansive, impressive opera house. Responding to the surrounding frozen landscape, the design team worked with the motto of ‘lighting the rhythm of the frozen music’. The challenge of the lighting design was in finding ways to reveal the purity and clarity of the space while enriching the visitor’s experience of both the space and the music within.
The team devised three ways of lighting the main atrium in one piece of roof; At the lobby entrance, a ‘welcome mat’ of light; in the middle, a super indirect light; and on the wooden shell at the end of the lobby, a vertical glow. All light fittings are completely hidden in the architecture, creating a pleasant rhythm of light unobstructed by technical details, and unplagued by hot spots or sharp corners. The wooden shell is a focal point of the lobby; washed lighting from above gives the whole lobby a warm, inviting atmosphere. On the canopy outside, spotlights were placed in slots, directing light on the ground to avoid reflection and allow people inside to see out.
To create a twinkling effect on the pyramidal glass roof, the designer selected a quarter of each faceted unit, attaching it with dotted film. Sunlight adds a twinkle to each pyramidic unit, creating different glass reflections throughout the day. At night the filmed glass is grazed from below by LED light bars, seeming to glow from within and attracting visitor attention from far away. In the big theatre, the architect called for a glowing ‘diamond’ for the owner’s VIP area above the mezzanine. Custom RGB LED fixtures are hidden behind the acrylic diamond panel and transition from starry white to warm amber, changing according to the event or the seasons.
The starry, twinkling diamond approach is repeated in the corridor, connecting the basement parking plaza and the main lobby: fibre-optic lighting minimises visual impact but creates a dreamy, grand entrance at the steps.