Located in the historic EUR district of Rome, a new 55,000 m2 convention centre was inaugurated on 29 October 2016. Named for the extraordinary free-form cloud-like structure set within its heavily glazed outer building, it is instantly iconic in the vast scale and exuberance of its design. The lighting approach reflects the architectural qualities of light, translucency and openness, creating a jaw dropping nighttime identity as well as an immersive experience that celebrates the essential nature of a cloud.
Focused on enhancing both its macro scale and distinctive organic nature, the entire ‘Cloud’ is lit from within. The 15000 m2 of undulating translucent fabric is designed to act as a single (gigantic) source of light for the space. Appearing to hover within the rigidly orthogonal Theca, the resulting glowing form draws the eye through the glazed screen and creates a fabulous external tableau. While beautiful, this concept is also highly practical, as it provides the majority of the light needed for the functional operating of the building. All other lighting is subservient and supplementary, included only where necessary for safety and security requirements
Considering the essential nature of a cloud further informed the design. Clouds are by no means static. They have tones, textures, movement and areas of light and shade. The lighting is programmed to add texture to the ‘Cloud’ through subtle, continuous variation in the tones of white light. This effect is layered with soft shadowing, generated by careful positioning of the lighting equipment within the complex three-dimensional steelwork. The subtle tonal variations bring both depth and interest to the experience of the space, emulating the ebb and flow of a storm, and supporting the sensation of what it might be like to walk in the clouds.