Mindseye Lighting Design developed a sophisticated car specific lighting strategy for the new BMW Brand Store in Paris, opened in May. The store was designed by Eric Carlson and his team from Carbondale Architects and Version Architects. Eric Carlson enlisted Mindseye to deliver a fresh, integrated and highly creative approach that considers the light as a key element from the outset.
"Carbondale have an incredible and instinctive understanding of the role that light plays in a luxury retail environment," commented Douglas James, Director and Founder of Mindseye. "Their design process is super fluid and allows for fast and highly creative development and assessment of ideas. It's an inspiring environment for any designer."
"When you review the completed installation, it is immediately obvious that light plays a major role in supporting Carbondale's sophisticated approach to the brand, the use of space, and the needs of the operators and customers," added Admir Jukanovic, Associate at Mindseye.
The BMW Brand Store is divided into three areas;
The store front window is the largest single pane window used in a European Store front. It serves as a huge Vitrine, drawing attention to the space and the two cars, which stand proud, as if gallery or museum pieces.
The volume is wrapped on three sides by a unique frosted glass wall which is also a low definition media wall capable of showing specifically developed content. This architectural feature provides a dramatic backdrop to the cars and has a powerful impact on the street presence of the façade.
Another key element to the space is the 45degree angled mirror surface which reflects the top view of the vehicles. The mirror is a piece of innovative LCD art commissioned specifically for the store, formed of composite polished stainless steel overlaid with LCD laminated layers. These LCD elements are triangular modules which are also programmable and operate both dynamically and in unison with the LED Frosted Glass wall.
The combined effect is sublimely fascinating and brings a sense of exhilaration to the experience of visiting a BMW showroom, which is unique and entirely suited to the brand values of BMW.
Comprising 232,000 LED's, the 72.5m2 media wall was designed, sourced, installed, project managed and commissioned throughout by Mindseye. Uniquely, Mindseye also design developed and generated all the content which runs on the media wall, as well as uploading and commissioning the pieces.
"I really don't think there is anyone else offering 'concept to completion' total solutions like this. Hats off to the Mindseye team," commented Pierre Tortrat of Carbondale Architects.
Visitors to the store will see part of the content loop, giving an incredibly dynamic and engaging backdrop, specific to the models on display. The accompanying soundtrack was inspired by individual car sounds taken directly from the BMW sound laboratories in Munich. Mindseye have now had the green light to deliver this system and content for future BMW Brand Stores in London and New York.
An innovative element developed by the Mindseye team is the inclusion of RGB and White LED pixels, to allow a full colour spectrum from pastel tones to intense colour and strong clean white light. The effect is striking: the colours generated are sumptuous and rich with subtleness and delicacy, which is certainly not the usual hallmark of LED generated screens.
Inspired by lighting techniques usually used only for car photography, Mindseye have created a 'sky' above each vehicle: a disc of illumination which reveals the body shape, curves, smooth lines and bodywork details beautifully.
The disc is created with a Barrisol stretch membrane, perfectly backlit with programmable LED's. These LED's can be used to deliver colour and dynamic effects, creating the impression of movement across the car's bodywork and windows, bringing a dynamic element and sense of fun and excitement.
A vertical element was conceived by Carbondale which gives rise to the 'vortex' shape. Rods rise from the edge of the 'podium' created with quartz Terrazzo, to connect to the perimeter of the ceiling disc. Imagine the two discs are then rotated in opposite directions, resulting in the rods being angled between floor and ceiling and creating the emblematic vortex shape.
Each rod is a custom designed and fabricated Aluminium extrusion with a custom LED lighting element within each side, facing inwards and outwards. Also programmable the external LEDS are also controlled via interactive signals provided by laser sensors concealed within the ceiling. As a person approaches the outside of the vortex the lighting on the outer face of the rods is affected creating an interaction between the viewer and the vortex. A total of 656m of custom LED rods were created to make up the individual Vortex's.
Surrounding each 8.5m diameter disc there is a slot with concealed spotlights which provide highlight and drama to key elements of the car. The combination of ceiling disc, rods and spotlights is spectacular; cars have never been this well-lit.
Perimeter lighting defines the extent of the area with no visible downlights anywhere in the space, resulting in a clean and aesthetically pleasing ceiling. The light is exactly, and only, where it is needed: on the cars and the perimeter merchandise walls.
The first ever BMW Brand Store also delivers a high end retail experience in the form of a boutique for luxury branded goods. Lighting is provided by a combination of integrated lighting within display units, trough recessed spotlights and ambient linear elements.
Track spotlights allow the merchandise to be efficiently illuminated by the use of flexible spotlights which include inter-changeable reflectors. It is an entire LED lighting scheme which means very low maintenance and energy consumption is kept to a minimum.
Carbondale understood from the absolute beginning of the project how crucial the role of lighting would be to the overall success of the store. Because of this they invited Mindseye to participate at the earliest possible stage, before there were even any potential layouts. In this way a design was allowed to develop that really delivers exactly what the project was fundamentally about - Cars, Architecture, and Light.