The new building of the Kunstmuseum Basel
Light and shadow can create text and form elements
"The altered typographic message gives the building a high visual appeal", says the jury
"iart" - the designers behind the "light frieze"

05/02/17

Award-winning design and its makers: “Light Frieze”

Once a year, the jury of the Red Dot Award: Communication Design honours projects of high design quality. Among the works which received a Red Dot: Best of the Best, the jury awards the Red Dot: Grand Prix. In 2016, the top individual award was granted to the facade design “Light Frieze”, designed by Christ & Gantenbein and iart from Basel.

Symbiosis of stone and light
The facade of the new building for the Kunstmuseum Basel is encircled at a height of twelve metres by a three metres high frieze. Its narrow, horizontally extending joints form a fine relief and are shaded by the incident daylight. The light frieze uses this effect as a design medium. White LEDs are placed into the joints so they cannot be seen from the street yet precisely illuminate the specially formed grooves. Reflection on the light-coloured bricks of the frieze thus creates an indirect light that can be used to display both text and graphics. The subtle way the facade is enlivened makes it seem sometimes more and sometimes less transparent, suggesting diverse interactions between the building’s interior and the surrounding urban space. During the day, the brightness of the illuminated joints corresponds to that of the ambient light outside. Thus, a fleeting play of light and shadow emerges, which yet seems to be as solid as the masonry. As daylight fades, the frieze adapts to the new environmental conditions, becoming more radiant.

Red Dot: Grand Prix for “Light Frieze”
The Red Dot Jury summarised: “The light frieze media facade of the Kunstmuseum Basel fascinates with poetic expression based on the sophisticated interplay of form, architecture and light. Harmonising with the material of stone, the effect of constantly changing grey and white emerges as the daylight changes. The changing typographical message thus created lends the building high visual appeal.” The jury awarded this outstanding design achievement with the Red Dot: Grand Prix. Red Dot talked to the designers from iart.

Red Dot: How do you convince clients?
iart: We convince clients by engaging them in the creative process of the project.

How do you attract attention?
We attract attention by delivering outstanding works.

How do you cope with competition?
By constantly striving for innovation.

What is your personal key to success?
Stay curious and don’t accept the status quo.

What are the main challenges you have to overcome in your work life?
To accept the fact that we can’t do everything we would like to do.

Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2017
For 25 years the Red Dot Award: Communication Design has provided agencies, designers and companies from all over the world with a platform for the evaluation of their design and creative services. They are currently allowed to submit their works and projects into the international competition, which is being launched in 18 categories. A 24-member jury will evaluate every single contribution individually and award the Red Dot seal exclusively to those who convince with good design quality and creativity. The regular registration phase runs until 14 May. “Latecomers” can submit their projects by 9 June 2017 at the latest.

» Further information on the Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2017