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Wunderman Offices, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Issue 73 June / July 2013 : Commercial : Office

CLIENT: Wunderman Brasil Comunicações LIGHTING DESIGN: Lit Arquitetura de Iluminaçã

Before the Wunderman advertising agency moved in, the 23rd floor of Rochaverá Building C lacked much of the character promised by the tower’s exterior. Sergio Camargo Arquitetos Associados and Lit Arquitetura de Iluminação worked together to bring a suitably dynamic style to this creative work space.

Convention and conformity have never loomed large in the Wunderman credo. With a global network serving some of the world’s most widely recognised brands, the advertising agency has gained a reputation for innovative - sometimes even radical - ways of communicating its client’s

When selecting a new location for their Sao Paulo office, image was clearly a key factor and, on the surface at least, the Rochaverá Buildings with its top-heavy, prismatic exteriors seemed the ideal choice. In truth, the buildings’ strong design (produced by Aflalo e Gasperini Architects in 1999) belied its rather conventional, rectilinear interior plan.

Undeterred, Wunderman selected a space on the 23rd floor of the site’s C Towerand brought in Sergio Camargo Arquitetos Associados (SCAA) to design a more stimulating, dynamic office environment. Their solution was to introduce some of the architectural character of the building’s exterior into the workspace, creating a hierarchy of sleek prismatic volumes, counterpointed by exposing the raw structure of the building itself.

Importantly, the team wanted to ensure this approach was applied not just to reception areas and break-out spaces, the usual focus for creative interior decoration, but rather to the entire working space. In particular, they were adamant that the office’s operational areas – the spaces where users actually spend most of their waking hours - should not be overlooked.

From the very beginning, lighting was considered as an essential part of the scheme, to be combined with the architectonics to provide a cohesive spatial solution. Light sources would help reveal the uniqueness of each space while the fixtures themselves remained a discrete presence.

Having worked with SCAA on a number of previous projects, Lit Arquitetura de Iluminação was drafted in as the lighting designer, working together closely to achieve the required look. Throughout the space, a colour temperature of 2700 -3000K was chosen, adding a ‘cosiness’ to the white, grey and black surfaces.

The majority of the office space is open plan. SCAA have avoided the traditional expanse of ceiling tiles, instead leaving the concrete ceiling structure, wiring and HVAC systems exposed. The gain in headroom gives the office a sense of volume into which a series of angled white panels have been hung. These are located above groups of desks to create a more comfortable intimacy and provide indirect illumination: a linear pendant with T5 28W/830 fluorescent source hangs from each panel to uplight the white surface, while delivering direct glare-free downlighting through a parabolic louver.

A row of three meeting desks, partially enclosed by a chicane of glass walls, is found in each corner of the 23rd floor. The walls provide a degree of acoustic protection without blocking out ambient light. A classic shaded pendant with a compact fluorescent lamp gives each meeting booth a focal point.

Groups of colourful seating form break-out spaces that are picked out with short-hang, cylindrical pendants (with 26W/827 CFL) positioned high up in the ceiling void. In instances where seating is located alongside a window, MR16 IRC 35W dichroic lamps 082 project / WUNDERMAN, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL with recessed glass diffusers provide the illumination.

The core of the building (concealing the central stair and lift shafts) is cased in a white wall, lit by a sequence of asymmetrical fixtures, so that it be perceived as a single homogenous block. The reception spaces, meeting rooms and other support areas are housed within two ‘prismatic blocks’: volumes clad in black glass in a reference to the building’s façade. The black glass surface required careful consideration in order to ensure the right level of illumination was provided to the adjacent circulation routes.

The meeting rooms within this block are decorated in white and light greys to create an exaggerated sense of space. In some cases, the gypsum ceiling panels have sections cut through them to reveal the concrete slab structure of the building. Concealed T5 fluorescent 28W/830 lamps provide indirect cove lighting both into the centre of the ceiling and around the edges of the suspended raft elements.

In addition to this indirect light, surface mounted metal profiles with MR16 IRC 35W dichroic lamps with glass diffuser are placed under the rafts to ensure the required illuminance level. This operates as a dimmable system, allowing the rooms to be darkened for movie and presentation projections.

Outside the meeting rooms is the largest of the reception spaces, dominated by a white glass reception desk. This is lit indirectly by a white linear aluminum pendant with 28W fluorescent T5 source, thus avoiding unwanted glare. A row of luminaires, fitted with MR16 IRC 35W dichroic lamps, recessed glass diffusers and an anti-glare control, are fitted into the ceiling behind the reception desk, illuminating the floor and adding sparkle to the satin steel logo mounted on the adjacent wall. The two seating clusters in the nearby waiting area are situated beneath circular coffers, lit by fluorescents T5 28W/830s to again reveal more of the concrete bones of the building.

As well as looking good, the design was focused on maintenance and energy efficiency. Only a handful of (reasonably efficient) lamp types were used: fluorescent T5 28W, compact fluorescent 26W/ 870, integrated fluorescent 23W and MR16 IRC 35W. The team considered replacing the MR16 for LED fixtures, but at the time the budget precluded this as an option, so Osram energy saver MR16s were chosen

Most importantly, the redesign has produced a textured, welcoming workspace for Wunderman staff, alongside unexpected flashes of architectural daring with which to impress visiting clients.


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