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Gabriele Perrini (iGuzzini): «The latest improvement works have returned the city to the Muscovites, making it more livable, usable and certainly more beautiful»

Jul 30, 2019

Evolution Tower (the skyscraper Moscow International Business Center) is lit entirely by iGuzzini LEDs and boasts one of the most sophisticated management and control systems on the planet. The tower’s most distinctive feature is its media façade. It is said to be the largest in Asia.

Gabriele Perrini (Regional Director Northern and Eastern Europe of iGuzzini) will give a lecture «Evolution of light for Evolution Tower» at the open educational venue Interlight Design Academy which will be working during trade fair Interlight Russia | Intelligent building Russia from 10 to 13 of September at Expocentre (Moscow). We met with Gabriele to discuss important topics (lighting design, lighting market engineering market and other).

Gabriele Perrini iGuzzini

– As we know, you live in Moscow since 2014. Do you like the city? Do you like the visual changes that the city going through? Do you like the city lighting?

– How could I not like the city? It’s majestic and imposing, it has a unique architectural style, the "Moscova” that crosses it many times gives a romantic touch. There’s a lot of green areas and hidden special places. The latest improvement works have returned the city to the Muscovites, making it more livable, usable and certainly more beautiful. The city administration gives a lot of importance to the light and the City light masterplan is well done, although I would have used less lux.

– What are your favorite lighting projects in Moscow?

– Obviously Evolution Tower. Beside that I am proud about the “Three Train Stations” Leningradskiy, Kazanskij and Yeroslavkiy, realized in collaboration with Ultimatum group. It was an important urban redevelopment project, with a simultaneous and coordinated installation that had a high impact on all the surrounding environment. Going back in time one of my still favourite is Vera Muchina’s “Rabočij i kolchoznica” now installed in Prospekt Mira, for the historical, architectural and cultural value. It is one of the few soviet monument left and as it has a very special charm.  Looking at our competitors I really like the Cosmos pavilion in VDNH, recently refurbished in a very nice retro-futurism style.

Could you tell us about your favorite lighting projects in Europe and particularly in Italy?

– Italy is our homeland and it is as well the home of most of the world's cultural heritage, so it means for us the opportunities to work on many prestigious projects. Among them probably my favorite is Michelangelo’s “Pietà” or Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”. The scale of such projects is not actually big but technically are much more complicated than they look like. On one hand we must put the observer in the best conditions to enjoy the masterpiece in all its splendor. On the other one, we must respect the originality of colors, shadows and materials without altering them, according to the will of the Master and trying to recreate the same lighting conditions of had at the time of conception. Last but not least: we must respect the delicacy of the work for its complete preservation.

– Are there other (except Evolution Tower) interesting projects in Russia, lightened by iGuzzini illuminators?

– Of course there are hundreds! Only in Moscow there are plenty such as Four seasons Hotel, Detskimir, part of Zaryadie Park, Domodedevo Airport, Yeltsin Center just to mention some of them. Anyway I think a special mention deserve Krasnoyarsk Opera Hall, recently refurbished for the Winter Universiade where we have adopted an unusual solution for iGuzzini, a mixtures of visual and architectural solutions, linking several buildings and infrastructures all coordinated with different media including  sound.

Another special mention is about the city master plan of Saint Petersburg, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in partnership with Michele De Lucchi, all the Nevsky Prospekt, The Admiralty, The Peterhof Palace, Mariinsky Theatre are just some of many projects realized there. I think is fair to say that these projects represent a switching point in the history of the modern architectural lighting culture in Russia, and we are really proud of being part of that.

– Why lighting of Evolution Tower is so important for iGuzzini?

– As happened in Saint Petersburg, with Evolution Tower iGuzzini is setting a new standard for the city landmark and modern skyscrapers in Russia. Is actually the first building in Moscow and probably one of the very few in all the Country, with such dynamic façade, and such strong personality but same time respecting the extraordinary elegance of is unique architecture. The interior is also very innovative, miniaturized led fixtures are integrated and mixed with the natural light coming for outdoor, providing the maximum visual comfort for the users and the minimal impact for outdoor observers.

– What are the most significant projects worldwide, lightened by iGuzzini Lighting?

– It is always difficult to select ‘superlative’ projects - every project tells a story and is somehow exciting and challenging. In the ‘Hospitality & Living’ domain, for example, the luxury hotel ‘The Retreat’ at Blue Lagoon by Basalt Architects stands in the amazing Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark, where guests look for relaxation and the benefits of mineral rich water. There, thanks to the controlled lighting levels and warm dimming technology, the common areas and bedrooms offer an intimate, welcoming atmosphere. Moreover, an authentic sun and moon effect has been created in the bedrooms’ ceilings thanks to the custom luminaire ‘SoleLuna’ specifically created by the lighting designer Guðjón L. Sigurðsson from the Liska studio.  When it comes to the Infrastructure application area, I could mention the Eurasia Tunnel, the road tunnel in Istanbul crossing underneath the Bosphorus strait and uniting Asia and Europe. The tunnel by Dino Krizmanic e Leonid Zuban and almost 15 km long - 5.4 km of which run right beneath the sea bed - shows a specific architectural lighting system by Skira Architectural Lighting Design based, in the inside, on lines of light and the blue colour. Blue was chosen after Skira made a careful study of traditional Turkish iconography. The interweaving lines, on the other hand, evoke the geometric patterns used as decorations on local carpets, tiles, windows and buildings. These looping lines of light inside the tunnel also influence driving rhythms as they are spaced at different intervals and therefore have different effects. But I could also mention Singapore Changi Airport, The Palais de Justice in Paris and The Block - D3 Creek Park in Dubai.


– Last year you made a speech about «Lighting renovation of UNESCO World Heritage Leonardo da Vinci’s "The Last Supper"» at the conference «Light in the Museum» in The State Hermitage Museum. Are museum projects important for iGuzzini? What spheres are the most important and interesting for iGuzzini now?

– The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre by RPBW Architects, the Victoria & Albert Museum in Dundee by Kengo Kuma, the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts in London - one of the world’s leading centres for visual arts -, the museum of the 20th century M9 in Mestre (Venice) by Sauerbruch Hutton and the UN World Heritage Site Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu (Nepal) are just some of the most remarkable international museum projects, recently run. Culture is certainly important for us, but - as I said before - we are also extremely active in developing innovative architectural lighting solutions for other application areas such as Hospitality & Living, Retail, Working, Urban and Infrastructure.

– What are the trends in lighting of skyscrapers?

– Sure enough, skyscrapers significantly affect the cityscape and the way we inhabit it as they represent prominent landmarks in the surroundings. Whether they act as lanterns showing their indoor lighting or screens projecting messages of light (media façades), they are increasingly meant to be exceptional architectural silhouettes producing dramatic urban effects through colourful and dynamic lighting. Apart from energy savings - lighting accounts for a conspicuous percentage of  the electrical load -, site constraints, lighting effects variability and ease of maintenance generally guide the clients and lighting designers’ choices. In order to reduce installation costs and difficulties as well as maintenance and management expenditure (due to the unusual shapes of the towers and the extreme temperatures they are often exposed to), lighting solutions are often installed indoors and/or designed to be programmed and managed individually by smart light control systems.