THE BLUE PLANET

The misterious face
of the "blue architecture"

Published on Jun 18, 2019

Architectural project by 3XN Copenhagen A/S
Lighting project by Jesper Kongshaugs and Fagerhult’s lighting consultant
Photography by Tom Jersø

 


 

 

The Blue Planet is the largest aquarium in Northern Europe. It hosts more than 20,000 animals in seven million liters of water. It occupies an area of 10.000m2 and it is a most spectacular modern architecture clearly visible for travelers, arriving by plane at the nearby Copenhagen Airport. 

The Blue Planet is inspired and shaped on the natural whirlpool shapes: water streams, shoals of fish, flocks of birds.

"The storytelling of the building is this movement and rotation and the lighting is part of this storytelling, especially when the sunsets and the night comes."

(Mr. Kongshaugs, lighting designer of the Blue Planet)

 

Mr. Jesper Kongshaug
Mr. Jesper Kongshaug

Architectural concept

The facade is covered with small diamond-shaped aluminum plates, known as shingles, which adapts to the building’s organic form. Just as water aluminum reflects the colors and light of the sky and thus the buildings expression varies with the changes in its natural surroundings.
 

"It is an aluminum surface, so it’s grey; it’s almost like the cloudy day and it has a mysterious shaping to it."

 
 
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The Blue Planet Acquarium (tanks for fishes 2)
The Blue Planet Acquarium (render 5)
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The Blue Planet Acquarium (tanks for fishes 2)
The Blue Planet Acquarium (render 5)
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Lighting concept

 

"The project had two main challenges to face: the urban network in which the building is located and its climate.

The people and the visitors were expected to access from many different part of the area and the lighting need to be thought keeping this point into consideration to preserve their safety. Together with this, the nearby airport with many different flights provenience and destinations, imposed to choose of very precise luminaires with narrow beam able to illuminate the building without blinding the pilots flying in (FOCUS).

The second challenge was the proximity to the ocean with very salty air and the high humidity grade. Those two factors are the big enemies of outdoor lighting luminaires since it lead them to harsh corrosion of the body and of the electronic components, till their shut down".
 

"So based on the placement next to the ocean and also based on the optical performance, I think there was only one choice."

 

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"The wonderful transition to LED, lead the lighting designer to select precise luminaire based on two main considerations. 

The first one is the humidity grade. This represents a challenge that can be overcome with products of good quality which generate very low heat and improved with water-stop system so to assure a good functioning of the LED circuit and of the entire system during the years. 
A good water stop system can be identified with the presence of a pre-cabled luminaire  that doesn't require any manipulation for being installed but simply the connection with the main circuit.

The second one, much more positive, is the chance to integrate the LED product into the architecture thanks to their renovate design and miniaturized dimensions. This is the case of the wall recessed products installed along the entrance of the building (BLINKER). With very fine thickness of the frame they have been built together with the architecture and perfectly blend themselves into it".

"The products are fully integrated and built together with the building itself. This really makes this new LED potential possible: having a lighting that is actually part of the building. "

Blinker recessed from Simes

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