The owners of Star Place, a luxury shopping center in Taiwan, were in search of a gimmick to attract customers. The architects at UNStudio responded by designing the center's curtain wall with protruding glass fins that, in addition to providing sun shading, form a fluid pattern in the shape of a star. UNStudio called on the Amsterdam office of Arup Lighting, with whom they have worked with before, to develop an illumination scheme for the façade that would preserve the transparency of the glass during the day, but keep the star motif visible at night.

Arup's solution was a fully integrated custom LED edge lighting system, which offered the twin virtues of cost effectiveness and hardware small enough to be visually discreet. Advanced optics focus the light of the LEDs in a narrow beam capable of distributing light evenly across the glass panels. One crucial factor in keeping cost down was devising an efficient assembly method. The designers worked closely with the curtain wall manufacturer to develop a clipping system that joins fixture to glass with a minimum of difficulty. The clipping system also provided the added benefit of creating very low tolerances, which is extremely important for optical performance.

Finally, the designers developed a complex control system that allows each of the fins in the 164-foot-high curtain wall to be illuminated individually. In this way, each fin can become a pixel in a giant screen. The control system allows them to be programmed to animate the façade with movement and flows of color, creating a kaleidoscopic array that catches the eye of every passerby.

Jury Comments
Jim Baney: A sophisticated way to incorporate pattern.
Randy Sabedra: A perfect example of working with the skin of a building as seen by day and creating a memorable night experience.
Sandra Stashik: This changeable building façade lighting is ingenious in its integration with the architectural skin of the building.

Manufacturers / Applications
Optotec: Custom-designed LED fixture integrated in glass fin profiles