World’s first facade featuring light transmitting concrete opened to public
The world’s first media façade featuring LUCEM light transmitting concrete panels has been unveiled in Aachen, Germany. Opened on 6 December 2012, the LUCEM Media Facade, situated at RWTH Aachen University contains the light transmitting concrete panels as designed by German concrete manufacturer LUCEM.
As part of the project, which was designed by Aachen-based architects Carpus & Partner, 150cm by 50cm concrete panels containing optical fibres have been used, forming a total area 30m wide by 4m high with 136 panels. Each panel is fitting with colour-changing technology, with the colours becoming brighter approximately one hour before sunset. The LED-panels are controlled using an internet-based DMX technology system, with each panel containing 3% optical fibres.
The technology controlling the lights opens up new boundaries for design and architecture as the light panels are made with red, green and blue chips which control more than 16 million colours. As well as this, all the panels can be controlled independently meaning the entire facade can become a large display screen. The light shows on the screen can be controlled via the internet or a mobile device and interactive elements as well as text and logos can be displayed on the screen.
According to LUCEM, the panels have various uses including ‘facades, interior walls, claddings and flooring systems up to the design of room dividers and bars’. There are currently three different types of LUCEM ®Lichbeton panels, which offer different effects and aesthetics for the user. With the LUCEM® Label panels, light transmitting fibres are arranged individually so that clients can display design logos, images, names, signatures and icons on the panels.
The LUCEM® Line panel on the other hand, has a fine-meshed surface which gives the impression of a lightweight structure which also reveals silhouetted objects while the LUCEM® Starlight panels contain larger light transmitting fibres that give the effect of brightly lit spots appearing on the surface of the concrete. Previous projects featuring the light transmitting concrete panels include the headquarters of the Bank of Georgia, where the panels were used to create light-filled accent walls and office partitions.