David Williams said, “All human life can be found in an airport”.

The Athens International Airport (AIA) also named Eleftherios Venizelos, is the gateway to great destinations worldwide, and the first visitor’s experience after they are landing in Athens, but also the last as they leave. An especially important landmark and one of the most visited places in Greece as it receives thousands of visitors and passengers daily.

The extension of the South Wing of the existing AIA Main Terminal Building is a newly completed end piece, which is revealed gradually whilst approaching the airport from the main road. This new structure, designed by the architects Tombazis & Associates and AVW Architects recently got nominated for the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2022.

The architectural approach of the exterior surface of the building cell is defined by the element of the louvers, rotated progressively around their pivoting point, revealing views from and to the building. The vision of the implemented lighting design was to promote this architectural viewpoint, targeting to increase its attractiveness. Although the louvers have fixed positions, the building gives the sense of movement and changes in view, as someone moves closer or further away.

Our concept’s key factor was to illuminate the structure elegantly without revealing the position of the light source and without the lighting fixtures to obstruct the see-through. So the luminaires are integrated in a discreet way that makes them part of the louvers and disappear during daytime. These vertical luminaires are made of a special custom fixture with a diffused finish. It includes 2 lines of RGBW module LEDs and it is mounted to the frame of the cement boards of every louver constituting the end part of it.

The final size, shape and materiality of this custom linear luminaire, by Linea Light Group, has been decided considering the requirements of the mounting details as well as the fixture’s durability in exterior applications and severe weather conditions.

Automization has been conducted in a users’ friendly system. The lighting design has taken into consideration the feasibility in terms of technical and operational requirements as well as the future maintenance.

The lighting has endless possibilities as multiple scenarios can be programmed. The lighting design team has created 12 dynamic scenarios 3-7 minutes long that are looping during night, each scenario for different occasion, from casual days to festive ones. We also provided to the airport’s management team static lighting combinations with the colours of all the countries’ flags for special occasions. By creating countless visual scenarios either discreet or eye-catching we communicate through light different visual messages to the airport’s guests, highlighting not only the architectural creation but also the power of light as a universal means of communication between people.

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