Making The Most Of Natural Daylight
By Sujata Burman
During LDF21, Henning Larsen and VELUX® offered a kaleidoscopic space to unwind at Observation Point along the South Bank. Take a look into how the physical and digital experience creates moments of calm by amplifying daylight.
The importance of natural daylight
“As Scandinavians, we’re used to the scarcity of daylight,” says Eva Ravnborg, design director at Henning Larsen, the international studio for architecture, landscape and urbanism. Exploring how daylight improves mental and physical health is embedded into its practice – as is the case for Danish window brand VELUX®, whose motto is ‘Bringing light to life’.
Light was the third collaborator in the LDF project, ‘The Cube’ by VELUX®, a wooden sanctuary where people can relax and recharge. Inside is a kaleidoscopic experience of VELUX®windows, which play with the colours of the surrounding environment. “I think it’s quite interesting to be in a location like London where you have so many people everywhere – and then to suddenly enter the Cube which offers a moment of calm in the noise,” says Ravnborg.
The installation intends to enlighten visitors, too. “I think most people don't realise the quality of daylight they have in their homes,” Ravnborg notes, explaining that the size and orientation of the windows, the reflections, the sources and quality of light are all variables that matter.
'Most people don't realise the quality of daylight they have in their homes'
How The Cube’ by VELUX® was created
Henning Larsen initially created sketches in response to “the idea of creating a particular experience that isn’t revealed from the outside.” The concealment was achieved thanks to the timber-clad exterior and the angles of the cube – if you approach it from a certain aspect, you don't see all of the windows, so the way they “magnify the daylight” comes as even more of a surprise.
Once inside, things got multisensory with tunes by AKQA, composed by Kasper Bjørke, which also work to bring the calming sounds of outdoors in. As with most of Henning Larsen’s designs, the environmental footprint was front of mind, hence the use of a wooden structure that can be easily disassembled. ‘The Cube’ by VELUX®, can move about and be installed in various places; of course, each experience will be very different,” says Ravnborg. “Daylight changes with place and with time of year, so it will be a new experience wherever it goes.”