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Case study – Martin illuminates Cloudscapes at the Architecture Biennale of Venice

Andrew Brister 15 September 2010

An indoor cloud installation at the Architecture Biennale of Venice has been created by Transsolar and Kondo Architects and illuminated using Martin architectural luminaires. The Cloudscape exhibition runs up to 21 November.

Martin Professional is illuminating the architectural installation Cloudscapes at the 12th edition of the prestigious Architecture Biennale of Venice (La Biennale di Venezia). Created by German climate engineering firm Transsolar and Tetsuo Kondo Architects, the indoor cloud is being created in an 800sqm room in the Venetian Arsenal (Arsenale di Venezia) and illuminated using luminaires from Martin Professional’s architectural line.

Architecture Biennale is being directed by Kazuyo Sejima, 2010 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and a member of SANAA, one of the world’s leading offices of contemporary architecture. She also serves as curator of the International Architecture Exhibition.

This year’s Architecture Exhibition is titled “People Meet in Architecture” and runs from 29 August to 21 November at the Giardini and at the Arsenale, as well as various other venues in Venice. The Biennale attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, providing a space for innovation in the arts, architecture and more. Cloudscapes is the central installation in one of the most prominent spaces of the Biennale.

Transsolar and Martin
Transsolar was selected by Sejima as the only engineering company in the Biennale and it proposed to create a microclimate in which a cloud can sustain itself. The aim is to provide a space where visitors can experience the characteristics of clouds on a personal level, from below, within and above. Martin Professional has worked with Transsolar to illuminate The Cloud.

The Cloud is illuminated by Martin Extube linear LED luminaires and Martin Exterior 200 LED projectors. The dynamics of the lighting is controlled via a Martin Maxxyz lighting controller.

Fog and light and clouds
The artificial cloud is being produced by the visualisation of the nearly 100% humidity in the cloud layer through a series of Martin Professional smoke machines (Jem ZR44 Hi-Mass and Magnum 1800), which create condensation seeds that render the cloud viable.

What we detect as a cloud are accumulated condensed water droplets (water vapour turns into water droplets and the cloud becomes visible). A floating cloud inside an enclosed environment – a cloudscape – can be accomplished by adding condensation seeds into a layer of air saturated with water vapor. In order to keep the cloud layer floating it is essential to have a dry and cooler layer with a higher density below and a dry and hot layer with a lower density above.

Cloud physics, the physical processes that lead to the formation, growth and precipitation of clouds, is becoming an increasingly important science in the understanding of our planet’s temperature, for example in global warming studies.

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