A distinctively luminous landmark on the Moscow night skyline.
Evolution Tower, the skyscraper designed by Tony Kettel and Karen Forbes, became a landmark in Moscow’s new urban skyscape throughout its construction between 2011 and 2014, the year in which it was completed. Since 2016, when it was bought by Transneft, the building has been the headquarters of the largest state-owned oil pipeline company in the world. The tower is 255 metres and 55 floors high and is now the largest and most efficient office building in Russia. It is lit entirely by LEDs and boasts one of the most sophisticated management and control systems on the planet.
For iGuzzini, the Evolution Tower was a highly complex project that it completed successfully thanks to its knowhow and by providing a global solution: dynamic lighting for both the exteriors and the indoor offices. The spiral structure of the building also required the design and construction of specific solutions that were perfected with the lighting designer.
The tower’s most distinctive feature is its media façade, which is said to be the largest in Asia. According to Nikolay Tokarev, the Transneft President, it is a symbol of the new Russia and can deservedly stand alongside icons of Russia’s glorious past, like Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
The height of the tower, its architectural structure, the materials chosen for the façade and the fact that the construction had already been finished, all set significant limits. Given the twisting and tilting of the glass surfaces, products could only be installed externally using mountain climbing techniques, and there were very few points they could be attached to. Moreover, the luminaires would have been exposed to extreme temperature changes, as the temperature in Moscow varies from - 40 °C in the winter to 40 °C in the summer.
For all these reasons, a solution was developed that installed the luminaires on the inside of the façade. The designers wanted to create a screen effect on the outside of the building with a series of RGBW “dots” that could be controlled individually and allow colour and light intensity to be changed in order to create different effects, including the Transneft logo.
A decision was therefore made to light the façade from the inside using an indoor product that would significantly reduce installation costs and difficulties as well as maintenance expenditure. From a formal point of view, the product was designed so it could be attached to the uprights used for the roller blinds. This allowed it to blend in perfectly with the aluminium components of the façade as well as facilitating installation thanks to pass-through wiring. The final effect is that of a luminaire with remarkable lighting and management performance that merges in perfectly with the architecture, even if it is was not created when the structure was originally built.
From the point of view of lighting, first and foremost, the luminaire had to be capable of developing a level of intensity that would allow its visual effect to be seen from a considerable distance. It also had to offer the widest range of colours possible, evenly and without revealing the individual LEDs, as well as observing the overall power limits required to light the façade.
The solution was a cylindrical luminaire with a consumption of 15 W, fitted with an RGBW LED circuit and a DMX RCM driver.
About 3600 “dots” were positioned over the entire façade, thanks to a grid that becomes narrower between the 40th and 47th floor to display the company logo. The luminaires are installed on the interior surface of the façade's multiple, insulated glass panels.
In terms of management, the “dots” interact with the control system, not supplied by iGuzzini, that is used for the building automation of the entire structure. Each “dot” is connected to both power and control cables. The DMX – RDM driver used for colour change management is compatible with the existing control system and offered significant advantages in terms of programming and management, as each luminaire, for example, had an auto-addressing function that avoided manually addressing 3,600 “dots” which would have taken a very long time indeed.
Once again, with regard to the global solution, the same lighting effect was guaranteed in the building’s technical areas by using luminaires with a higher protection level (IP65 rating). This ensures they can resist the water released if the fire prevention sprinkler system installed in these areas is activated.
Visual comfort for Transneft employees and guests
Lighting the interiors of the Evolution Tower was a challenging project as the layout of its different environments - all with their own specific functions, such as computer work stations, corridors, shared spaces and reception areas - vary significantly due to the twisting shape of the structure that makes the tower such a distinctive landmark on Moscow’s urban skyline.
The general contractor, Velesstroy, entrusted Dean Skira with the complex task of developing a lighting design that would offer a high level of visual comfort for employees and energy consumption of less than 5W per square metre, while also recounting the importance, history and values of Transneft.
As these requests had to be created for rooms with variable sizes that are neither square nor rectangular, and whose glass walls tilt at different angles, the lighting concept was based on low luminance luminaires. The positioning of these products was also carefully researched to ensure the level of uniformity requested by the customer for the specific work areas was achieved. All the luminaires are DALI and therefore dimmable. They are also connected to a network of presence and daylight sensors controlled by algorithms that are part of the structure’s building automation.
The fact that this project involved spaces whose size can be varied enormously, led to Dean Skira choosing luminaires from the entire Laser Blade range. This guarantees a consistent style, while allowing the various requirements in the different environments to be met successfully. The general preference was for shorter 1, 3 and 5 cell modules, because they are extremely adaptable given their compact size. A bespoke 5-cell Laser Blade Adjustable Wall Washer luminaire was specifically created too.
To obtain an optimum, diffuse and homogeneous effect in the work environments with video-screens and therefore to integrate the effect of the low luminance luminaires that risk creating shadows that are too sharp, vertical wall lighting was used. In certain environments, Underscore light lines with grazer effects were used and in others, Laser Blade L Adjustable luminaires fitted with Wall Washer optics were chosen to light the side walls vertically. In certain areas, standard lamps were added to integrate and personalise the lighting. In the work environments, on the other hand, to soften the lighting effect, an Adjustable version of the Laser Blade L luminaire was installed with special filters to broaden the luminaires’ light emission. To illuminate the corridors that join the various work areas and have glass walls on one side and masonry walls on the other, Laser Blade L Adjustable luminaires were installed with twin General Lighting and Wall Washer optics. The General Lighting optic guarantees general lighting, while the Wall Washer creates uniform lighting on the side masonry walls. For these spaces, Dean Skira also asked iGuzzini to eliminate glare completely. So, the wall washer luminaires were fitted with a new Super Comfort LGC (Longitudinal Glare Control) optic that blocks longitudinal glare completely. Along the corridors, the emergency lighting is created by Laser Blade inOut luminaires with an IP65 rating. These are water resistant, so the luminaires will continue to operate even if the fire prevention sprinkler system is activated. This also maintains the style of the luminaires throughout the different areas.
In the entrance halls, which are characterised by large, ample spaces, marble and elements depicting Transneft’s activities, Laser Blade System 53 luminaires fitted with High Contrast modules were installed. A slight formal differentiation was adopted for certain areas used for special events and meetings. In these offices, recessed Laser and Laser Blade XS luminaires were fitted.
Dean Skira wanted to give all these environments the same colour temperature and colour rendering (4000 K and CRI 90) and within the set deadlines, iGuzzini succeeded in supplying all the luminaires ordered with these specifications.
Another valid request for the entire building was the use of a flicker free driver that does not disturb video communications, as due to the international nature of the company’s affairs, video calls and connections are used daily in many of the work spaces. This request was also particularly pressing for areas with surveillance cameras. All the drivers provided for the interior lighting system, therefore have this characteristic.