When designing ECCO's new global marketing headquarters in Tønder, Denmark, Ravn Architects wanted to reflect the innovation and quality that the international shoe manufacturer is famous for. Inspired by the traditional construction techniques of the rural marshland of southern Denmark, the highly contemporary building also embodies sustainable practices, using solar power and geothermal heat.
It was crucial that the exterior lighting that would create the key first impression was in tune with the principles of both the architecture and the company – it needed to be sustainable, aesthetically appropriate and create exactly the right welcoming lighting effect.
'We wanted to create a building that represented everything ECCO is about – rooted locally, but with a global outlook,' says Uffe Lumbye of Ravn Architects. 'We were looking for an outdoor lighting solution to work as an extension of the architecture and accentuate it in the best way possible.'
To complement the contemporary architecture, ECCO and Ravn Architecture chose three designs from Louis Poulsen's Flindt collection. Each fixture is stylish and understated, blending naturally into its environment like the building itself. The lighting effect is carefully choreographed, so that the landscape becomes like a stage set with pools of warm, inviting light.
The Flindt Bollard has a minimal, cylindrical shape, a bold, sculptural appearance that speaks the language of the architecture. It illuminates the concrete pathways with an asymmetrical, glare-free, downward-directed light. The light source is concealed at the top, inside the distinctive curved aperture, where the gradient serves as a reflector that softens the beam, forming a round, organic pool of light on the path. The reflected light is a design element in its own right, adding to the warm, welcoming ambience after dark.
For the parking area and in the atrium, the tall Flindt Plaza helps both define and illuminate the surroundings. Based on the same design principles as the Bollard but with a modular construction, it comes with up to four highly flexible light heads on one pole, allowing lighting designers, specifiers and architects to create a custom solution. The elliptical apertures are a striking but subtle design feature while also serving as a dimming reflector, softening the light and allowing it to be precisely directed.
'The sculptural appearance of Flindt Plaza suits the building beautifully, and we really liked the flexibility of this fixture and how the light source is integrated in the pole,' says Uffe Lumby. 'We also saw a similarity between the roundness of the carvings and the roundness of the ECCO logo that spoke to us. It is all in the detail.'
Around the outdoor staircases, the Flindt Wall fixtures are both functional and visually pleasing, providing a multi-directional light that guides and illuminates while animating the wall. Inspired by the effect of an eclipse, the elegant, pared-down profile is distinguished by a subtle opening at the top that emits a soft light down the front of the fixture. This creates a gentle, glowing ring of reflected light on the transition between its concave and convex shapes. A halo of light on the mounting surface makes the fixture appear to float.
To complement the various Flindt fixtures, Jupiter spots by Targetti uplight the building and greenery, an additional layer that creates further visual interest and balances the lighting composition.
The Flindt fixtures met the brief on a number of levels. The LED luminaires are not only energy saving, but can all be refurbished if a new and improved LED technology is developed in the future. All fixtures are finished with a black powder lacquer with a texture chosen specifically to match significant black detailing on the building. Visually, the three Flindt designs communicate perfectly both with the new ECCO building and each other, creating a cohesive, harmonious aesthetic. Crucially, their carefully orchestrated lit effect creates a warm, inviting and intimate ambience to welcome visitors to the building.