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Lighting Heals Urban Space - Beijing CR Land·Instreet / PROL

Exploring the hidden value of light series

People sit together while chatting and laughing, enjoying a slow and relaxing lifestyle.

When night falls, the hustle and bustle of the daytime fade away in the Instreet. Instead, the soft and natural light quietly calms and heals the people from fast-paced urban life. Under the clear and natural lighting, a father and his son rested and chitchatted there comfortably, feeling the closeness and return of spirit during the temporary stay.

Designed by PROL

Photographed by TOPIA

The Call of the Times for the Urban Spiritual Oasis

The rapid process of urbanization has greatly improved people's living conditions, followed by the rapid pace of life and the sharp increase in mental stress. For the first-tier cities represented by Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, people have no time to linger in spaces with only basic functions. Therefore, it is urgent and necessary to build the urban humanistic space environment and to activate the emotional tolerance and vitality of space. It has become the call of the times for the urban renewal.

In the urban renewal project of Beijing CR Land Galleria Shopping Center Instreet Renovation (hereinafter referred to as Instreet) in cooperation with Kokaistudios, PROL embedded human-oriented thinking, focusing on the emotional release of people in the lighting environment. Through active lighting design interventions in public space, PROL was committed to make Instreet an urban spiritual oasis with both functionality and quality.

Illumination Exploration of Instreet Renovation

Located in Chaoyang District, Beijing, Instreet is adjacent to a high-end residential community, where a number of business centers and traffic hinges gather here, serving as commercial, residential and working functions.

The architectural design spawned streamlined paving and middle island from the river concept. Kokaistudios boldly removed redundant elements in space and improved the overall landscape. After the transformation, Instreet featured clear traffic line to meet the needs of surrounding residents and tourists, becoming a public street serving the community. After communication with Kokaistudios, PROL followed the same design concept, so that the light fit the architecture to create the best light environment experience of "city archipelago", and to fully release the hidden value of light.

Exquisite Lighting Empowers Business

The exploration of lighting first took place in commercial streets. Instreet was next to a high-end residential community, and the measured brightness of the residential building surface was between 0.25-1.25 cd/m2. In such a light environment, embedding a high-brightness commercial block would destroy the quiet feeling that had been established for a long time. Therefore, it has become the most important concern of lighting design to create a commercial atmosphere while minimizing the impact on the residence.

The lighting design tone of the commercial street was clean and natural, and the overall brightness was properly controlled. Te brightness ratio between the commercial street and the residential area was restrainedly set at 10:1 to achieve the balance and harmony of the overall visual effect. Taken into account of the light pollution and noise pollution (noise generated when people interact with light) caused by the use of colored and dynamic light, the project abandoned this common lighting method of commercial blocks, but adopted pure white and warm yellow to highlight the overall natural characteristics of the space. It finally created a more life-oriented, relaxing and upscale leisure shopping and social place.

The extended terraces of the shops on both sides designed by Kokaistudios provided more possibilities for the treatment of lighting relationship between the public space and individual shops. The signage was uniformly designed in a static and pure light-emitting method. The surface brightness was about 30-50cd/㎡ and the transmittance color temperature in the store was mainly 2700-3000K. A few stores can increase to 4000K or add a small amount of color change according to the brand demand. In this way, the shops on both sides form a continuous and smooth visual effect, which enhances the overall temperament of the shopping street. The logo at the main entrance is specially designed with color changing effects, highlighting the theme of urban renewal and creating a vivid attraction.

As a result, a pure and unique commercial block without sacrificing taste and details was embedded in the city. Under the guidance of continuous light, people can linger freely in a relaxing and pleasant lighting atmosphere, creating more lasting commercial value for Instreet.

Hidden Light Heals Emotions

Focusing on the inner world of the urban population, the lighting design blended every details to heal the urban arrogance and impetuosity with an immersive lighting experience of “city archipelago”. This is a deep insight into the social needs in the renovation of Instreet from the lighting design angle.

A series of canopies formed by meshes on the top rift cut the original empty space visually, connecting the scattered parts of the commercial street into an organic whole. RPOL set up illumination under the canopies and at the bottom of the green trees to showcase their freely changing forms, meeting the basic needs of night viewing, and also forming the visual beauty of the archipelago oasis.

The scattered white boxes in the streets were designed as islands that assume different functions, like the art space, commercial street entrance, and subway station entrance. After repeated experiments on site, the light was finally set inside the white box to reduce the brightness of the surface to make it blend into the environment perfectly. It also unexpectedly created the hazy beauty of floating islands. Hidden light was set at the bottom of the planting bed enclosed by thick steel plates, allowing the light to overflow naturally like running water.

The frontage facades adopted the architectural design language of crosswise shutters, presenting the undulating and smooth landscape shape. The lighting design added continuous upward light to highlight the subtle changes of the shutters, and the shadows intensified the continuous and rhythmic arrangement of light, bringing a sense of ups and downs of mountains. When standing in the commercial street and looking around under the shadow of the green trees, visitors will have the lighting experience as if being among the mountains and rivers.

Looking down from the residential area, the same comfortableness and pleasure can be achieved from the Instreet lighting renovation, which is a challenge and sublimation to the light environment shaping. Considering every elements that may destroy the visual experience of the residential area, the designer controlled the overall brightness of the commercial street, avoided too much dynamic light and color changes, and weaken the visual effect of "luminous body" of the structures in the commercial street. For example, the surface brightness of the canopy meshes was nearly 450-1000cd/㎡. In order to make a well-distributed brightness of the surface, the designer reduced the number of self-luminous in triangular meshes. What’s more, lamp posts with a hidden downward light-emitting method was specially chosen to connect the different parts of commercial street, forming a continuous and smooth overall visual experience, and enriching the lighting level of the commercial street.

As a plenty of design details are blended, a complete "urban archipelago" light environment came into being. The carefully designed light which was formerly seen in resorts and high-end clubs came into the public space, allowing people to see their emotions, soothe their hearts, and perceive the plasticity of light in the carefully designed light and shadow environment. The natural and warm visual effects from various perspectives, as well as the immersive lighting experience that combined life and upscale flair, reshaped people's perception of lighting design, and fit people's pursuit and spiritual yearning for the urban lighting renewal.

Ingenuity to Build A Humanistic Lighting Environment

In the lighting design of Instreet, PROL has always insisted on careful and meticulous exploration from a humanistic perspective. The continuous and smooth light,the cleverly placed landscape lampposts, along with the surrounding lush trees aligned to enrich the depth of light and shadow levels. On the basis of satisfying the lighting function, they constituted the natural and comfortable lighting expression and design aesthetics of Instreet. PROL hopes that the light changes in the shopping street can come more from the flow of people: when people are attracted into the block by the quiet and comfortable light, some are shrouded in the light, some are standing near the light, and some are in the shadows. The interaction between people and light will form the most unique and attractive humanistic light and shadow environment.

In the lighting design of Instreets, the designer focused on the urban humanistic needs, iterated the design method, explored the profound value of hidden light in urban renewal, and healed the urban space with light and shadow, creating a spiritual oasis in the busy city. When night falls, people are attracted by the soft light that overflows from Instreet, in which they stop and have a rest in the clear and natural light environment, and find a space of spiritual freedom in their busy city life.

Nowadays, the core of urban renewal is not only limited to boosting the economic value of renovated plots, but also lies in the humanistic thinking embedded in the space. Taking the inner state of the people in the space as the starting point, this project meticulously built a comfortable, thoughtful and natural immersive light and shadow environment which can continuously stimulate the vitality of space. In the future, PROL will continue to have an insight into the deep calls behind from social and humanistic perspectives in urban renewal fields, centering on the exploration of the hidden value of light, and constructing a natural and comfortable light environment experience with ingenious design, thus, bringing more vitality to the urban space.


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