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Mondeal Square, Ahmedabad, Gujarat State, India

Issue 78 April / May 2014 : Retail: Hotel


Ahmedabad, a textile town, is a city on the grow and the new Mondeal Square is a signifier of the area’s burgeoning boom. Boasting the biggest media façade in India, Atelierdada brought the building to life in light.

The Mondeal Square project is a shining example of the increasingly buoyant nature of India’s new economy.

The project has been marketed as the new commercial centrepiece of Ahmedabad, the fifth largest city in India and one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

Located in the Gujarat area of the country, the city was at one point nicknamed the ‘Manchester of the East’ due to Ahmedabad’s bourgeoning textile industry. A hotspot of civil disobedience during the fight to end the British Raj, Ahmedabad has always sat right at the heart of the Indian story.

The Mondeal project is comprised of a twin tower of ten and twelve storey office buildings with a connecting two storey retail area. The impressive visual display is comprised of an architectural blueprint by Blocher&Blocher and an innovative lighting and video content design from Atelierdada.

Boasting the biggest media façade in India, the structure’s lighting design is quite something to behold and features an impressive 3968 media LED lines that cover around 5293m2 of the glazed façade.

Products from the media façade and media architecture specialists AHL Lighting were used on the project, with many products being especially customized for the Mondeal project, such as a new version of the D32 from AHL, which was developed for integration into the structure.

What makes Mondeal Square unique and interesting is the use of a smart architectural language. The design opts to use light as an architectural element, a defining medium, and this is a tangible part of the design.

The integration of the lighting into the sun shade structure has been done so that occupants have unobstructed views even while the lights are on.

The impressive grid based orthogonal media façade provided by AHL, which forms the most eye-catching element of the building’s lighting design, required the creation of a special irregular grid, as well as the development of a challenging video content program and design.

The theme of the lighting programme, which produces a five hour daily light show, was developed in order to summon a sober weekday feel. This was created with the use of gently moving geometric light content, in a warm white colour that respects the nature of the building’s function and the original nature of its structure.

A program plays periodically for five minutes at the start of each hour, displaying a different animation each time, turning the building’s exterior into a huge timepiece, an abstract light marker of the changing hour that connects people with the building via a visual temporality.

Beckoning in the start of a new working week, on a Sunday evening, a more agile and colourful play of shadow and light has been designed.

For festivals, special abstract animations take inspiration from the local culture and Gujarat is an area rich in history and ritual from which to draw ideas. Event videos play to mark Christmas and Uttarayan – The International Kite Festival, one of the biggest events in the Gujarat calendar and an event that see’s locals construct a host of homemade kites to celebrate the day when winter starts to turn to summer.

Light animations have also been created to mark Republic Day (one of three national holidays in the Indian calendar), Diwali, Holi (a Muslim festival of colours that sees people running about the streets pelting each other with brightly coloured powder) and Navratri, a nine day festival of dance in honour of the Hindu deity Durga.

A pattern of glowing linear light can be found throughout the lighting scheme for the buildings and the square. A continuous line of light wraps the whole building, while continuous lines wrap the grand steps toward the retail area.

The benches and planters in the social spaces are also natily illuminated, while radial lines drive onwards toward the corporate entrance to the building.

To express and highlight the architectural decision to merge the architecture with the public street, without an obvious border or boundary, it was proposed to use palm tree mounted lights in order to create a welcoming green natural border, while avoiding the use of any extra lighting furniture that could obstruct views of retail space, or the impressive architecture.

Palm trees were symbolically planted around the public green space to compliment the architecture further. The palm tree was chosen as an icon representative of a prosperous Ahmedabad and the history and character of Ahmedabad city in the 16th century, the area’s golden age.

Mondeal Square, with its vibrant architecture, lends Ahmedabad, the one-time ‘city of adhoc billboards’, a breath of colourful art that celebrates the stirring architecture it is presented upon. This new structure in the heart of the ‘Manchester of the East’ is a symbolic sign that the city, after a rich history, will sit at the forefront of India’s 21st century story, just as it has in years past.


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