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Silo 468

Antti T Seppänen

A new bright aspect for an old dark building.

In Helsinki an old oil silo was converted into a piece of light art designed by Lighting Design Collective, and this transformation has positive reflection on the city. Antti T Seppänen follows this story from the very beginning, when the initial proposal came out, until the inauguration showing also the very first uses of the building, once rehabilitated.

“Silo is not a straight forward project, it’s rusty, it’s dirty, it’s in a windy location”: in the very beginning of the film, right from those words of the architect, the observer gets a key to understand the project to be revealed thereafter.

Lighting design collective, a design studio specialized in light art, digital content design and architectural lighting design, was invited by the city of Helsinki to participate in a restricted competition to revitalize the old oil silo, and won it.

The aim of the project, one of the initiatives promoted that very year when Helsinki was World Design Capital, was to recover a former industrial area and transform it into a new residential district. This process starts right from the reconversion of the silo into a public space and, in detail, into a piece of light art. The building now animates a former dark area and can be perceived also from a distance as a new element in the night skyline.

Lighting design collective conceived a light project based on an algorithm elaborated on animal behaviors, as those of birds or fish, whose actions are never regular but depend on natural and always changing parameters such as wind speed or temperature. This translated into a continuos and variable light flow. The surface of the silo is pierced with 2012 holes, each one accommodating a light, 450 of them hosting also steel mirrors moved by winds. The interior is painted in deep dark red, as a sort of memory of the energy related to the former use of building; the absolutely monochromatic paint also reduces the visual information and lets visitors focus their attention on the light.

The story filmed by Antti T Seppänen is an immersion in the overall process. The author gives voice to persons involved in the project, records phases of the construction and moments of technical difficulties, and discloses in the end the result when citizens take part in the inauguration and start to became familiar with the new bright aspect of an old presence.


Architect: Lighting Design Collective
Mentioned project: Silo 468 (2012)
Project location: Kotikyläntie, Espoo, Finland
Crane photographer: Onni Tappola
Crane operator: Ake Arminen
Crane assistant: Annika Arminen
Aerial photographer: Jakob Mader
Music: Maiija Saksman, Seppo Renvall, Antti Halonen, Inka Ritvanen

Finland 2014
Duration: 35'38''