Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Unilux Group lighting showroom in LEBANON by SOMA Architects
December 13th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: SOMA Architects
With 20 meters of frontage but only 4 meters of depth, the existing ground floor space provided a unique opportunity for a commercial street front fit for a lighting showroom. The client, Unilux Group – the largest supplier of high end light fixtures in Lebanon, requested a unique space in which to exhibit the products sold by the company. Due to the shallow depth of the existing main space, a conscious decision was made to envision the space as larger than its confines of the walls in order to visually appear larger as well as draw pedestrians into the store.
What started as a simple two dimensional system evolves into a sophisticated matrix that guides the design process throughout the space. By envisioning the space as a solid mass, we were able to carefully craft the negative usable space with incredible flexibility. This mass was thought of as larger than its confines of the walls, only to be sliced by a new glass storefront, effectively engaging the “fourth wall” of the sidewalk. By utilizing a parametric script, this mass manifests itself as a series of uniform white 50cm x 50cm cubes which envelope and unify the space. The result is a matrix of geometric elements carved and crafted to create a dynamic and inhabitable space in which users can interact not only with the light fixtures themselves, but immerse themselves in the interaction of the light along the complex surfaces.
The basement provides a more intimate setting in which products are displayed due to the existing lower ceilings. Inspired by this cellar appearance, the various light fixtures are displayed in a series of niches along the narrow basement corridors. While the walls and floor are rendered in a highly reflective black, while the niches are rendered white so the individual characteristics of each light fixture are displayed. The result is a mosaic of different colors and shades of light expressed in their individual niches, reflected in the floor and ceiling.
International architecture firm SOMA announced today that the Michel Abboud-designed Unilux Group lighting showroom, a marvel of both contemporary design and ingenious problem solving, is completed and now open in Beirut, Lebanon. The lighting company tasked Mr. Abboud, SOMA founder and principal, to design a concept to help the store’s limited depth appear larger to the eye. He also delivered a unique way for products to be displayed there.
Though Unilux’s new showroom has 65 feet of frontage, its internal configuration measures just 13 feet in depth. Working within these confines, Mr. Abboud used advanced parametric tools in order help array 1,000 50cmx 50cm white glass-reinforced plastic cubes at various lengths, helping the room appear as one continuous large space. The room’s lighting is given different surfaces to play on, and its stunning results are sure to draw in passing shoppers. Mr. Abboud’s innovative main room was also designed to be used in tandem for events, and features a separate bar area that fits seamlessly into the room’s design.
The main room also acts as an entryway to the more intimate lower level of Unilux’s showroom. Sales associates begin the customer experience by engaging shoppers in the sparkling main room, only then leading them to the store’s lower level, where the design concept is a complete contrast. Providing space for Unilux’s lighting products to be displayed, Mr. Abboud created a series of niches along the narrow basement corridors. The walls and floors are rendered in a highly reflective black, while each lighting fixture’s niche is rendered in white. This allows for the individual characteristics of each product to be cleanly displayed.
“I am very proud of the Unilux store and how our concept came to life. The space was challenging because the store is very shallow and we needed to find a way to help it appear larger as well as draw people in,” said Mr. Abboud. “The sculptural elements that we created deceive the eye and create the illusion of greater depth. We are very excited Unilux chose SOMA to give them an unforgettable space.”
International architecture firm SOMA,headquartered in New York, was founded in 2004 by Michel Abboud. With its focus on incorporating craft, digital technologies and environmental responsibility, the firm’s designs and work have attracted critical acclaim for their boundary pushing nature. SOMA’s work is rising around the world today—in New York, Dubai, Lebanon and other international markets—with remarkable offerings of luxury hotel, condominium and mixed-use developments that underscore the firm’s cutting edge appeal.
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