INABA’s inverted chandelier comprises a steel frame clad with aluminum tubes and activated by LEDs.
Both simple in its geometry and intriguing in its illumination, a massive new lighting installation in Stavanger, Norway, aims to activate the lobby of a concert hall and create a welcoming civic gesture. Designed by New York-based INABA, the cylindrical structure responds to its setting in a variety of ways. Cutaways in the cylinder reveal views out for visitors inside the concert hall and also reveal slices of the dynamic LED lighting inside the structure to people outside the concert hall on the plaza.
Jeffrey Inaba, principal of INABA, calls the installation Skylight, and refers to it as an “inverted chandelier.” The light is reflected within the rings, rather than out. The outside is coated in glossy white to reflect the warmer daylight and ambient light in the building. The design of Skylight is meant to function as a recognizable figure for the building, which was designed by Oslo-based Ratio Arkitekter.
In order to make the maximum impact given the constraints of a public art budget, Inaba and his team worked closely with the well-known Argentinian fabricator DAMTSA, which fabricated the exterior panels at Neil Denari’s HL23. By keeping the geometry simple—just a cylinder with cutaways—Inaba was able to standardize the curvature of the installation, which simplified the process of rolling the hollow tube steel frame. One-inch-square-profile aluminum tubes clad the exterior of the cylinder, connected to the frame with standardized attachment details. DAMTSA and INABA worked together on several prototypes before ultimately settling on the cladding system.
INABA designed Skylight in Rhino and collaborated with Buro Happold on the steel structure. The 22-foot-by-38-foot permanent installation, which weighs 6.5 tons, is suspended from the ceiling by a double pin connection. The angle at which it hangs is determined by the weight of the structure. It aligns with the angle of incidence of the sun, which allows the structure to have the fewest possible shadows throughout the day.
The LED lighting scheme, animated by New York–based MTWTF, within the rings changes for intermissions, curtain calls, and when the hall is not in use. INABA decided to use pure white and aqua marine light so as to differentiate the installation from the warmer house illumination and the famed Nordic light. Mezzanines surround Skylight on three sides, giving concertgoers numerous vantage points to view the piece as well as the landscape beyond.
For INABA, the piece suggests a way to move forward in their approach to architecture. “We’re interested in how do you take the constraints of costs, construction techniques and turn that into a conceptual framework,” Inaba said. “Skylight is not a piece of architecture, but it shows how we are pursuing architectural practice.”