The Oakland Cube is the last puzzle of the Oakland City Center development plan. It has become the crown jewel that shines in Oakland’s nighttime skyline.

Cutting-edge lighting control systems was fully utilized to create vivid and dynamic lighting scenes that celebrate seasonal holidays, local sports teams, and cultural events that tie to the local community.

The Lighting Designers concept for the City Center development was to create a uniform glow in the internal crown cube and flank the facade with four vertical lines of light, that anchors the building’s lighting feature from top to bottom.

The lighting design team and the architects conducted numerous full-scale mockups to test how the lighting fixtures would render through the facade glazing, in order to select the most appropriate glass treatment, and fixture placement to diffuse the light.

The Architects, however, opted for a 25% translucent glass only, so that they could also achieve a desired transparency during the day. Exposing the stunning metal structure behind the glass cube. Finding the perfect balance between transparency and translucency was challenging, but paramount to the success of the project.

Thanks to full mockup opportunities and the calculation software, the lighting designers were able to build detailed lighting models, with all structure obstructions, to study the best lighting fixture mounting locations. Lighting calculation models were also utilized to explore opportunities for using different colors in the crown lighting, and tell stories that connect with the Oakland-San Francisco community.

A structural platform installed 4ft from the top of the glass, splits the lighting feature in two. The “Level 1” scheme grazes the glass from the very top edge of the cube, mounted 6” from the surface, due to structural and window washing restrictions.
“Level 2” scheme, mounted to the bottom of the platform, 3ft from the glass surface, uniformly washes the remaining 30ft to 40ft of glazing.
A third scheme, which the team refers as The Drip, a line of light concealed on the four corners of the cube, ties the top of the building almost to its bottom. The drip uses tunable white LEDs, programmed to match with each chosen color show.

No lighting fixture is aimed 90-degree above nadir. Avoiding any Dark Sky issues and fully complying with Oakland’s Dark Skies Ordinance.

The lighting design team created 12 lighting scenes related to the national holidays, local sports teams, and community cultural events that connect the local people from both sides of the San Francisco Bay.

In addition to using different colors, the lighting designers fully utilized cutting-edge lighting control systems to make the colorful lighting scenes dynamic. Several lighting scenes have a chasing program; when the lighting revolves inside the crown cube.

Since its completion, the Oakland City Center Cube became a landmark in Oakland’s night sky. Tourists use it to find their bearings when they are walking in downtown. Residents feel they are getting home, regardless if they are driving or flying to Oakland, when they see the predominant sapphire, or other celebratory colorful show illuminating the iconic glass crown cube.


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