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DETAIL English 4/2016 - Lighting + Interiors

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Toyo Ito, who is nearing seventy-five, continues to reinvent himself. Seeking resemblances in his buildings, even two of them, would likely be in vain. The common thread running through nearly all his designs, however, is poise. This he combines with an inclination to do away with the distinction between indoors and outdoors, or at least to blur it a bit.

At a university library in Taipei, the irregularly placed mushroom columns stand on both sides of its pared-down glazed skin (see p. 392ff.). Filtered daylight enters the library space through glazed openings between the parasol-like supports, making the silhouettes of the roof structure become indistinct. Perhaps it is this quality of light that endows the space with a special atmosphere. Daylight plays an important role in an expressive transfer terminal at the new train station in Arnheim (see p. 398ff.), as well. Carefully positioned skylights direct it deep into the interior, but also supply views outward, helping passengers orient themselves.

In contrast, a pre-school in western Austria by Bernardo Bader (see p. 388ff.) and a residence in Slovenia by Ofis arhitekti (see p. 374ff.) are characterised by thoroughly considered details and carefully selected surface materials. A shop in Kuala Lampur by Russell & George (see p. 385ff.) employs white to intimate luxury. The bright lighting and the slender cross-sections of the spatial screen obscure the contours. Toyo Ito would be pleased.