A “literal and figurative heavyweight,” that’s how one architectural publication described Jo Coenen, referring to the depth of his building designs. A pioneer of “Friendly Monumentalism,” the famed Dutch architect has influenced his profession by creating structures that project great substance and power, while also managing to engage in an open dialogue with their surroundings.
Coenen’s buildings don’t merely blend into an environment, they become part of it. This is beautifully evident in Schouwburg Concertzaal Tilburg, an impressive modernistic edifice in the cultural heart of the city with large glass walls and recessed surfaces that erase all barriers between the building and the urban landscape outside.
When this cultural landmark celebrated its 25th anniversary recently, the community wanted to do something special to mark the occasion. With this in mind, the venue contacted designer Max de Kam of Maximal Lighting to create a display on the building’s curved rooftop façade.
Building on the theme of a popular multi-colour light art piece inside the building, the design team decided to feature a rainbow display on the rooftop. This design, with its panoramic hues, was also especially fitting, given the diverse range of concerts and events that take place inside the building’s two halls.
Max de Kam wanted luminaires that could reliably create the colourful array he envisioned in an outdoor setting. Patrick Knoop and the PK eventtechniek team provided the solution he was seeking by furnishing him with 15 COLORado Panel Q40 IP65-rated fixtures from CHAUVET Professional.
“To share the festive feeling of the 25th anniversary, we decided to use multi-color fixtures,” said Knoop. “Since 2021 we have had the COLORado Panel Q40 in our collection. The fixtures work very well in terms of color and they are outdoor rated, but we had never completed a project such as this one with them before. However, they worked out very well throughout this entire 30-day celebration, even though temperatures got quite low.”
The COLORado Panel Q40 units, which measure 515 x 196 x 304 mm, were positioned on the façade itself as well as on the glass surface of the roof. A DMX controller in a waterproof compartment was used to run the fixtures based on a design made with WYSIWYG.
From this position, the RGBW rectangular washes directed even, well-defined stripes of colorful light along the facing of the structure with no space between them. “We didn’t want the light to blend in on the building so there had to be an overlap,” said Knoop. “There was to be no space between the colours. Anything that was dark in this design was just not meant to be lit.’
Set against the vertical lines of ribbed metal façade structure, the stripes of color took on a fluid quality that gave them a lyrical look, as if they were ready to move themselves. This impression was accentuated by the curved shape of the structure itself, make the vividly lit and colorful piece flow magically over the iconic building.
This impression wasn’t lost on Knoop who recalls that his favorite moment during the project occurred on the very first day after construction was completed and the sun went down. It was at that point, he says that he realized the effect would go “way beyond our expectations,” particularly in the way it connected the roof to the beautiful building below, along with the busy street and dark sky.
It was exactly the kind harmonious vision that drove Jo Coenen to create this magnificent “friendly monument” of a building 25 years ago.