The Aquarium in Genoa is the greatest sea park in Europe. It is a great vessel anchored to the heart of the city and stretched out toward the open sea, the Aquarium was built on the occasion of Expo' 92, celebration of the fifth centennial of the discovery of the New World by Cristoforo Colombo and recently renewed.
The project of the building, commissioned to the architect Renzo Piano, has always been interpreted according to the idea of the project as the image of a big ship always ready to sail. A revolutionary lighting system, realized by Archiluce Lighting Design, every evening transforms the Genoa Aquarium into a spectacle of light, complete with fluorescent creatures, and highly theatrical chromatic effects and movements.
In order to enliven night-time visits to the Aquarium, a number of different lighting effects were studied which, as well as showing a different aspect of the tanks and their underwater environments, give the spectator the impression of sinking into a "star-lit sea".
In the Caribbean Coral Reef Tank, for instance, different lights have been installed using 28w T16 fluorescent lamps. They produce a beam length of 1238 mm and are fitted with a dark blue filter. The resulting light is soft and uniform. Two ceiling tracks have been positioned above the walkway and fitted with floodlights with halogen lamps and spot optics. They use a colour filter that is very similar to moonlight.
For the Cylinder Room, instead, Archiluce designed ceiling lights using optic fibres with a colour-changing device to simulate a starry sky. The colour shifts gently from blue to green to add dynamism to the lighting.
The enchanted atmosphere of the lunar night can be felt in some environments, exalted by suggestive light choices and by a particular brightness. Instead in the corridors, it is possible to dip in a suffused blue, and every now and then to have a "shower" of starlets and small fishes projected by the ceiling onto the floor. The result is a splendid frame of lights and shades that make the visitor dip in the dark recreating the atmosphere of a night-time walk on the sea-bed.
The background sound effects is another essential part of this project. A number of natural elements are skilfully mixed with other sound effects from nature to make the tour of the aquarium more enjoyable.
Design team: Archiluce Lighting Design
Client: Costa Edutainment S.p.A.