Light for beauty: The new headquarters of Amorepacific in Seoul by Arup

The new headquarters of the Korean cosmetics company Amorepacific in the centre of Seoul consistently follows the concept of sustainable construction. This also includes the lighting concept developed by Arup, which is based on maximum use of daylight and future-oriented lighting design. Together with the architects, the international planning and consulting company has developed a modular, universally applicable luminaire system with interchangeable lens optics for artificial lighting.

Daylight as an integral part of architecture
The Amorepacific headquarters, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, was built in the Yongsan district of Seoul. The 110m high new building is built around a central courtyard. Thanks to this building layout, the offices are always supplied with daylight from two sides – from the atrium and across the facades. The latter is preceded by a delicately textured sun protection made of matt white, vertical aluminium pilaster strips. According to the low-tech approach that characterises the entire construction project, they are immovable. This minimizes maintenance and wear. The vertical fins are arranged in four different formats, depending on the direction of the compass, over all façade surfaces in such a way that they effectively minimise the direct sunlight and thus the heating of the office areas and at the same time allow maximum views with optimum daylight gain. In addition to the sun protection function, the vertical fins lend the building its unmistakable identity, both by day and by night.

Arup, which in addition to daylight and artificial light planning is also responsible for the multidisciplinary planning of façade, structures, vertical transport, building physics, fire protection and acoustics, developed and optimised the solar shading system using complex light simulations, mock-ups and wind tunnel tests.

Flexible artificial light for diverse room topologies
The Amorepacific headquarters, which is characterised by openness and transparency, combines a wide variety of room uses, all of which require individual lighting solutions. The company offices are located on the upper floors, while the entrance level with its large three-storey atrium invites the public to visit. Here are not only various shops, restaurants, bars and a tea house, but also the entrance to a museum, a library, an auditorium and a kindergarten.

The various usage profiles were to be met with a technically flexible, sustainable and aesthetically pleasing lighting solution in harmony with the architecture. For this reason, a complete luminaire family was developed especially for the project.

“We designed an innovative modular luminaire system from which a variety of light distributions can be generated throughout the building using a uniform luminaire unit,” says Alexander Rotsch, Europe Lighting Leader at Arup in Berlin, describing the tailor-made lighting solution. As a result, the luminaires can be adapted to changing building uses during their service life without changing the appearance of the ceiling and without having to replace the entire luminaire. The luminaire design thus picks up on the principles of recycling management.

Tailor-made light from modular systems
Each luminaire consists of three components: a die-cast aluminium heat sink, which also accommodates the LED driver, an LED module and a unique optical lens made of PMMA with a diameter of 150 mm or 180 mm. The interchangeable optical lenses combine total internal light reflection with refraction on their underside. The modular luminaire system offers twelve different light distributions – from narrow, medium and wide beam to elliptical beam characteristics, each with or without indirect light component – and up to thirty possible combinations.

This makes it possible to create different lighting atmospheres with a single system for a wide range of uses. Even during operation, the luminaires can be adapted to changing building uses without interfering with the electrical installation and without impairing the appearance of the ceil. The lenses are attached to the luminaire base by means of a secured bayonet lock, which also has a modular design. Individual components can also be replaced here if required.

The special aesthetics of the luminaires are achieved by concentrating on what is technically and functionally necessary, by doing without anything superfluous and by the high precision and quality of workmanship. Thus they not only provide the right light for any desired lighting mood and room use, but also form an almost decorative element that interacts directly with the unadorned architecture.

In the Amorepacific headquarters, which is designed for up to 7,000 employees, more than 22,000 such luminaires were installed according to the building grid as recessed, surface-mounted and pendant versions. The entire lighting system is controlled via DALI and is equipped with daylight and presence sensors to minimise power consumption.

Water features with lighting effects
The fifth floor, which is organized around a central inner courtyard with a geometric water surface, offers an atmospheric highlight: In an ingenious double function, the coffered glass roof of the atrium spanning the first four floors becomes the floor of a water basin. With natural light during the day and artificially illuminated during the night, light effects with a slight shimmer are created, especially in conjunction with the light movement of the water, immersing the entire inner courtyard in an almost mystical lighting atmosphere. A large number of communal facilities, such as staff restaurants and cafés as well as fitness and health facilities, ensure the well-being of the workforce.

Shimmering lantern at night
While many buildings in Seoul and other Asian cities are very conspicuously staged at night, the headquarters of Amorepacific deliberately remains unobtrusive and draws its external impact from the shimmering light of the interior lighting and the subtle illumination of the façade. For this purpose, highly dimmed linear LED luminaires were integrated into the horizontal façade projections; the façade widens slightly upwards in four steps to create the perspective impression of the cubic cubature from below. Like a delicate veil, the sun protection elements gently illuminated with oblique light surround the building. At the same time, the light lines mark the gradations of the façade, which, depending on the angle of view, closes to form a surface or presents itself as an almost transparent curtain.

Amorepacific’s new headquarters in Seoul provides space for about 7,000 people. The building has been awarded the LEED Core & Shell Gold rating by the LEED certification system for sustainable construction.
Copyright: Amorepacific

Offices, auditorium, atrium, art exhibition, canteen …
The luminaire family developed for the project is available with twelve light distributions and in more than 20 variants. This enables it to fulfil the sometimes very different lighting tasks in all building areas.

The sun protection façade made of vertical fins is used for the discreet night-time lighting of the building. Depending on the viewing angle of the façade, the proportion of interior lighting penetrating to the outside and the oblique light on the building envelope change.

Project: Amorepacific Headquarters, Seoul
Client: Amorepacific Corporation, Seoul,
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects, Berlin,
Engineering services: Arup Deutschland GmbH, Berlin, & Arup Ltd., London,
Light planning: Arup Deutschland GmbH, Berlin – Project management: Alexander Rotsch, Europe Lighting Leader
Completion: 2017
Gross floor area: 216,000 square metres

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