Illuminating shopping experience: filigree light sculpture for the Aquis Plaza

A sales area covering more than 29,000 square meters, 130 shops, restaurants and cafés, around 25,000 customers every day: These are the key figures of the Aquis Plaza that celebrated its grand opening in downtown Aachen, Germany, at the end of October. The impressive light sculpture “The Source” makes for a special shopping experience: It rises up inside the mall over three floors under the glass dome. Slim line OLED tiles dominate the delicate design and ensure efficient operation. They are held by a specially developed X-LED construction by Carl Stahl Architecture.

Situated in the main pedestrian zone of Aachen, directly at Kugelbrunnen, the Aquis Plaza is the new location for shopping, entertainment and culinary sensations. The shopping mall offers a balanced mix of retail outlets, including new stores and concepts for the city. The attractive foodcourt with its diverse range of culinary offerings invites visitors to take a bite to eat while enjoying the view over the city. With its organic architecture, spacious inner courtyards and relaxing atmosphere, the Aquis Plaza harmoniously blends into Aachen’s grown city center. The mall takes its name from the ever-present theme of water that can be found throughout the imperial city and is also reflected in the architectural concept. Large glass domes, high façades and two-story shop windows allow plenty of daylight into the building, and provide visitors with interesting insights and views.

An impressive light sculpture rises up inside the building and is a special spatial experience for all visitors. At 18.5 meters, the OLED installation stretches over all three sales areas up into the glass roof – and is thus one of the largest of its kind worldwide. “The Source” consists of 36 individual platforms spanning two meters each bearing 12 organic LEDs. As they can be controlled individually, they enable fascinating changes of color and a creative play of light. For the implementation of this unique installation, developers and center manager ECE once again consulted the experts from Carl Stahl Architecture with their X-LED light module system as well as Philips – designer and manufacturer of the innovative OLED panels. The European market leader in shopping center management and the experts
from Süßen in southern Germany had already worked together successfully on the realization of the impressive light ceiling in Stuttgart’s Milaneo shopping mall. For “The Source”, Carl Stahl Architecture developed an innovative base system: Special wire cables with a diameter of twelve millimeters, attached to a cross beam suspended from the glass ceiling, hold the 36 layers. 36 cantilever elements, LED support systems and housings are used to hold the 432 Lumiblade OLEDs from Philips. Carl Stahl Architecture was also responsible for the cabling of the power supply units and driver modules. All surfaces were lacquered in mother-of-pearl to ensure a harmonious design concept.

The use of the efficient OLED light technology is in keeping with the sustainable building concept of the shopping mall with its dynamically controlled light and energy system in combination with certified green electricity. Consisting of highly adaptable material, OLEDs provide a realm of possibilities for the use and design of light and illumination with extremely high efficiency.

Light installations by Carl Stahl Architecture combine the lightness of delicate-looking carrier constructions with the diverse possibilities of impressive lighting designs and modern media technology – either as a fixed installation or flexible in use, with a lightweight structure that can be shaped three-dimensionally. Various carrier structures made of stainless steel cables and mesh, I-SYS and X-TEND, as well as individually developed supporting structures enable myriad options for mediatecture. Integrated processors in every light ensure the necessary flexibility for dynamic image and color transitions. Images, animations and videos can be transmitted directly to the system via standardized interfaces. Special software allows real-time video rendering and the programming of creative light designs.

Thanks to the efficient LED technology and the exact matching of the energy performance to the relevant requirements, the LED light module systems by Carl Stahl Architecture are extremely economical in terms of energy consumption. The certification awarded by the German Public Construction Authority for fundamental components of the stainless steel program I-SYS and X-TEND as the basis of the system facilitates planning and approval from the relevant building authority.