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Carre de Soie, Vaulx en Velin, Lyon, France

Issue 52 Dec/Jan 2009-10 : Retail : Mall


In March 2009, the lighting studio Les Eclairagistes Associés finalised the lighting of this 180,000 sqm shopping mall, a part of ‘Carré de Soie’ that has been enhanced by 16,000 RGB LED pixels from Philips Color Kinetics.

Contacted in June 2007 by ALTAREA, the main contractor, Les Eclairagistes Associés (LEA) was asked to come up with a lighting scheme for the Carre De Soie open air shopping mall that had already begun construction some months earlier. Architects FaulknerBrowns had worked on imagining specific lighting for each space, based on studies by the contractor. However the technical solution that was proposed finally turned out to be unsuitable for the night-time image of the shopping mall.

LEA therefore undertook, at very short notice, to work on sketching a design in which the architecture acted as a support for the lighting. The late call-up meant that LEA had to work with great urgency and to collaborate well with the electrical engineers SNEF and the detail architects (Arte Charpentier).

LEA’s brief consisted of carrying out the lighting environment of the shopping mall, including the lighting of its architecture, the functional lighting of public areas (gangways, passages, etc) and of the car parks. For part of the night as soon as the cinema opens, the Leisure and Retail area of Carré de Soie becomes the ‘electroluminescent heart’ of this new development and throbs intensely or quietly depending on the pace of its activity.

At night, the architectural lighting of the area becomes a major actor in the urban fabric of the Eastern Lyon area. The lighting scheme fits in with the general lighting strategy of this part of Vaulx-en-Velin and more generally of Greater Lyon but is also meant to be seen as an exception to the overall concept.

The aim from the offset was to make Carré de Soie an area of friendly exchanges and nightly entertainment. The site is primarily meant to be an area of retail. Lighting therefore had to meet the demands attached to this function by offering light that makes orientation easy as well as identification of the retail units and the services, thus playing a part in making them attractive.

Directional lighting focused on elements of the architecture give relief to the environment and is categorised into a hierarchy of three uses:
• Main lighting: aimed at accentuating, decorating and animating the contours and layout.
• Secondary lighting: functional, meant for current use, to help find one’s way and move safely on the site.
• Tertiary lighting: complementary and reflected by the glossy materials used for the architecture as well as inside the structure.

Intensive downlights from BEGA were employed in the public areas, along with standard car park luminaires equipped with high quality lamps (3000°K, CRI 85) for the parking area, while blue lamps were chosen for the pedestrian passages.

But the real imaginative design came with the structure of the building itself where the lighting relies primarily on the powerful architectural gesture of the claustra or trellis-like structure oriented from the building towards the avenue makes the mall a unique object, a hybrid of organic and metal technology.

The architectural movements are enhanced at night by Philips Color Kinetics iColor FLEX SLX modules. The LED strands contain 16,000 RGB pixels that are individually addressed to allow chromatic programmes to be varied and seasonal which meets the commercial needs of the management. The nodes generate extraordinary effects without the constraints of fixture size, shape or space.

So as to stress the playful aspect of the leisure area, preference was given to lighting scenes that were chromatic and colourful. The use of RGB gives an unlimited variety of chromatic variances creating a dynamic and lively atmosphere with a symphony of colours.


Carre de Soie

Pics: ZEF and LEA

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