Located in Beirut, Lebanon, the Unilux showroom was designed by Michel Abboud for SOMA Architects. With 20 meters of frontage but only 4 meters of depth, the existing ground floor space provided a unique opportunity for a commercial street front fit for a lighting showroom. The client, Unilux Group - the largest supplier of high end light fixtures in Lebanon, requested a unique space in which to exhibit the products sold by the company. Due to the shallow depth of the existing main space, a conscious decision was made to envision the space as larger than its confines of the walls in order to visually appear larger as well as draw pedestrians into the store.
What started as a simple two dimensional system evolves into a sophisticated matrix that guides the design process throughout the space. By envisioning the space as a solid mass, we were able to carefully craft the negative usable space with incredible flexibility. This mass was thought of as larger than its confines of the walls, only to be sliced by a new glass storefront, effectively engaging the "fourth wall" of the sidewalk. By utilizing a parametric script, this mass manifests itself as a series of uniform white 50cm x 50cm cubes which envelope and unify the space. The result is a matrix of geometric elements carved and crafted to create a dynamic and inhabitable space in which users can interact not only with the light fixtures themselves, but immerse themselves in the interaction of the light along the complex surfaces.
The basement provides a more intimate setting in which products are displayed due to the existing lower ceilings. Inspired by this cellar appearance, the various light fixtures are displayed in a series of niches along the narrow basement corridors. While the walls and floor are rendered in a highly reflective black, while the niches are rendered white so the individual characteristics of each light fixture are displayed. The result is a mosaic of different colors and shades of light expressed in their individual niches, reflected in the floor and ceiling.