For this 7m tall space, custom made luminaires, 3.5m in height, were devised using Barrisol stretched ceiling material. By using this system it was possible to obtain pendants which unlike a conventional pendant of similar size, only require supporting rings at their upper and lower extremities.
Project carried out while working at GPD SA (Acciona Producciones y Diseño)

The interior and museum design concept of this library space which covers 2 floors of this unique narrow building was to have extra-large feature pendants to fill the space visually, as well as to provide the main source of comfortable illumination.

This came with the following challenges:
1) How to create these 3.5m tall diffuser luminaires with the required clean aesthetic and desired conical proportions, yet with a minimum of visible structure;

2) How is the luminaire detailed so that it appears interesting and how did the concept also provide sufficient illumination to the space below without losing the concept that the technology within it not be visible;

3) Ensuring the final product was well executed, on budget and on time;

4) How the light fixtures within the pendant would be accessed for maintenance.

1) Instead of looking at the luminaire being a gigantic version of a conventional lampshade with all its inherent problems exaggerated for this scale, I looked at alternative means of creating continuous diffusing surfaces with the minimum of visible structure. By using my knowledge of Barrisol stretched ceiling material it was possible to obtain forms which - unlike a conventional pendant of similar size - only required supporting rings (specific aluminium profiles) at their upper and lower extremities;

2) The lower face of the luminaire finishes this aspect of the luminaire with a coherent look by utilizing the same Barrisol diffuser material to provide a degree of comfortable and diffuse downward direct illumination. This was achieved by taking advantage of a curved variant of the aluminium profile to create a ring that is used to stretch the Barrisol material (another ring is also used at the top of the pendant);

3) By initially coordinating directly with Barrisol and then their local distributor and their own workshop to create and test full scale mock-ups and checking there was no cost creep or design/technical deviation along the way. This together by using what were at the time the most economical and appropriate light fixtures – simple linear fluorescent strip light luminaires – ensured all 10 pendants over the 2 floors were on budget;

4) It was suggested by others that an electric motor and winch mechanism be integrated into the ceiling to lower the pendant to allow access to the light fittings inside. Such a solution would have brought with it added mechanical and visual complexity, cost and its own maintenance. The solution designed was to leave the pendant suspended in its place and design an alternative means of accessing the luminaires within. An access disc is incorporated to the lower face of the pendant. This is released and fastened using a simple push-to release mechanism. This then provides direct access to a telescopic tubular steel spine that can be lowered down by removal of a simple mechanical latch. Onto this spine are located all the simple and sufficiently thin section strip light fixtures - they are mounted all around it from top to bottom. This internal tubular structure then lowers to floor level permitting straightforward access to the strip light lamps for maintenance, even though the pendant itself remains hanging from a great height.

Client: CajaGranada
Space/exhibition design: GPD S.A.
Architect: Alberto Campo Baeza
Location: Granada, Spain
Status: completed 2008
Photos: APD; Jagmel Grewal

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