Edificio Unicredit Milano

UniCredit Pavilion in Milan – lighting as a component of outstanding architecture

The renowned Italian architect and designer Michele De Lucchi designed the new, multi-purpose pavilion of the UniCredit Bank together with Gruppo C14 lighting designers in the form of an oversized lantern: the architectural gem constructed from timber and glass appears to radiate from within thanks to lighting tools from ERCO.

Edificio UniCredit Milano

When lighting designers and architects work in unison, the result is buildings of outstanding spatial and constructional quality in urban contexts. The organically shaped pavilion designed by the architect Michele De Lucchi and commissioned by UniCredit Bank was designed in close collaboration with lighting experts from the Milan consultancy Gruppo C14. The building soon became a magnet for the public and also the poetic hub of Milan’s new prestigious district of Porta Nuova. The highly professional LED lighting tools from ERCO illuminate the facade and interior spaces of the multi-purpose pavilion where meetings and conferences of the bank, as well as public concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions take place.

De Lucchi designed the pavilion on its central site as a stark contrast to the cool, technical architecture of the mirrored high-rise buildings located on the Piazza Gae Aulenti – the office tower of UniCredit Bank, the Torre UniCredit, stands tall at a height of 218 metres as the most striking architectural element of the new Milan skyline. The organically shaped pavilion constructed from timber and glass is reminiscent of a pebble or seed, and the vertical timber-ribbed construction with horizontal larch wood beams envelopes a glazed core with an auditorium in the ground floor, a gallery in the mezzanine and a lounge below the round roof. A differentiation is made between the adjacent high-tech architecture and the pavilion not only via its organic form and natural construction materials, but also with the 3000K warm white light specified for all the indoor and outdoor lighting.

To implement the concept of a warmly radiating, accessible “lantern” visible from afar, the lighting professional Alexander Bellman with his Gruppo C14 consultancy developed some clever construction details together with the designers from Studio Michele de Lucchi: Grasshopper projectors from ERCO for example were concealed away from view and installed into recesses within the vertical timber support structure on the outside, in front of the glass facade. “These maintenance-free, high-efficiency projectors with precisely matched light distribution were recessed across the complete building shell between the wooden structure and glazing within the horizontal wooden beam structure,” explained the lighting designer Alexander Bellman. “They accentuate the facade with overlapping beams of light from above and below, giving the impression that the building radiates from within.”

A decision was also made for efficient and innovative ERCO LED lighting tools for the interior spaces. Light Board 48W recessed floodlights in warm white installed in the lateral trusses illuminate the convex interior of the pavilion canopy with wide beams of light. The wall panels surrounding the core of the pavilion on all levels and positioned to the rear of the glass facade are uniformly illuminated with ceiling-integrated 24W and 32W Compact lens wallwashers in warm white, also enabling a view into the small but architecturally dramatic building at night. The opening exhibition in the new pavilion displayed 70 works of art from the UniCredit art collection. As pioneers in the museum lighting sector, ERCO lighting tools feature outstanding colour rendering, and with interchangeable lenses, Optec spotlights create rich-contrast accenting or floodlighting on artworks, uniform illumination on walls or crisp-edged light beams for striking light effects. Pollux contour spotlights precisely light exhibits for magical art displays.

The ERCO Light Factory in the German town of Lüdenscheid is a leading international specialist in architectural lighting using LED technology. The family business, founded in 1934, now operates as a global player with independent sales organisations and partners in 55 countries worldwide. Since 2015 ERCO’s portfolio has been 100% LED. With this in mind, ERCO in Lüdenscheid develops, designs and produces digital luminaires with focus on photometrics, electronics and design. Working closely with architects, lighting designers and engineers, ERCO develops lighting tools used primarily for applications in the following fields: Work, Shop, Culture, Community, Hospitality, Living, Public and Contemplation. ERCO understands digital light as the fourth dimension of architecture – providing highly precise and efficient lighting solutions to support creative designers in turning their visions into reality.

Project: UniCredit Pavilion, Milan / Italy
Architecture: aMDL Architetto Michele De Lucchi Srl, Milan / Italy
Lighting design: Gruppo C14, Alexander Bellman, Milan / Italy
Photography: Dirk Vogel, Dortmund / Germany
Products: Compact, Grasshopper, Light Board, Optec, Pollux
Photo information: © ERCO GmbH, www.erco.com, photography: Dirk Vogel