Dexia Tower: An Exercise in Interactive Architecture
Think you can’t find beauty in a bank? Think again. The Dexia Tower, located in Brussels, embodies just that. Thanks to the creativity of LAb[au], a Belgium based digital design lab, the Dexia Tower has become infinitely more than just a home for paperwork and numbers.
The tower itself went up in 2006, and since then has been host to a variety of fantastic light shows. The third tallest building in Brussels has a lot more going for it than just height, however: Of the building’s 6000 windows, 4200 of them contain an installation of 12 light bulbs, each housing 3 LED’s (a green, blue and red) that can be combined to form a complete palette of color. The result is a tremendous canvas that can display anything from letters to geometric designs. Seem wasteful? It isn’t –recent tests show that the tower uses 1/3 of the electricity that Paris’ famed Eiffel Tower uses, thanks to a highly efficient energy saving LED lighting system.
To create this effect, all blinds must be closed on the tower, as the LEDs are not capable of lighting the facade alone. It is actually the reflection on the closed blind that lights up the window. The entire lighting system is controlled by a computer. The key to making the entire display flow is that some things are only visible when certain windows are lit in certain colors. Each of the windows can be illuminated completely individually and in any color, which is a large part of what makes the Dexia Tower so brilliant.
In 2006, the Dexia Tower hosted another dynamic exhibit called Touch. Called an “interactive light game” and developed by LAb[au], this feature allowed visitors to use a touch screen to project geometrical shapes on the tower fora few moments and then send the image of their personalized design to themselves via email. The exhibit earned the tower tremendous recognition and it was mentioned on hundreds of websites thereafter.