Located in the heart of the old industrial area of Brussels, overlooking the canal at the Van Praet Bridge, Docks Bruxsel guarantees an exceptional urban experience.
Indeed, this new complex, which is the first in the capital city for more than 25 years, is part of a much larger mixed-use development that combines shopping, leisure, cultural and entertainment facilities to revive the area and create a dynamic and attractive district.
As the Internet plays an ever-increasing role in our daily lives, it is also transforming consumer shopping behaviour. Now, when consumers visit shopping centres, they are looking for experiences that go well beyond traditional shopping. Docks Bruxsel perfectly captures this new trend by providing diversified services including shops, entertainment facilities (cinema, concert hall, restaurants…), offices and an exhibition area tracing the site’s history.
We imagined this complex as a city district in its own right. We wanted a very open development with streets and squares lined with shops and entertainment facilities.
The complex was built as a real district with streets, squares, green spaces and street furniture to create a convivial public space that encourages social interaction.
It was also designed to be an exemplary project from an environmental point of view, by using the site’s natural resources and developing innovative solutions; a huge glass roof enables visitors to enjoy the natural light and protects them from bad weather, canal water and heat recovery from the nearby incinerator.
The same approach was adopted for the lighting by using energy efficient LED technology for the entire site.
Lighting for an enhanced nocturnal experience
Architecture in general, and sites like Docks Bruxsel, have to come alive at night, especially in winter when the days are much shorter. Lighting plays a critical role in creating a safe and vibrant environment at night.
The architectural practice Art & Build collaborated with the lighting designer, Patrick Rimoux, to light the roof and façades in an original manner that would enhance the public spaces.
They chose the SCULPline, as its flexibility and efficiency enabled them to sculpt the light and transform their vision into a dynamic illumination for the outdoor façades.
The light can be adapted to the real needs of the space and to different periods of the year to create an engaging and memorable visit.
The illumination of the roof, a distinctive feature of the project, required special attention. This emblematic architectural element by day, had to be as visible by night. The designers opted for the SCULPdot and SCULPflood luminaires, which allow them to shape the light and adjust it according to the ambient light outside and events happening in the complex.
Connected outdoor spaces
For the outdoor spaces, they wanted a luminaire that combines high technology with sobriety. The SHUFFLE was ideal as this modular column perfectly captures the future of public spaces.
As the architects explain, “Public spaces must ensure safety and provide facilities and services like WiFi and sound, in an almost invisible way. With this technology, Docks Bruxsel is driving the public space of the future.”
A total of 46 SHUFFLE columns fitted with light modules, WiFi and loudspeakers harmoniously blend into the space, for the safety, comfort and convenience of all the visitors.
Architecture has to come alive at night, even more so in winter. Lighting, whether it is for a building, an indoor or outdoor space, is a very important element in making the place comfortable, welcoming and significant.
These high-tech SHUFFLEs already offer what we envisage for the future of public spaces. Indeed, public spaces will have to offer sound and connectivity in a seamless manner, without any constraints.