Lighting up Shanghai Tobacco
Shanghai Tobacco – the second largest tobacco company in China, with annual production volumes of some 70 billion cigarettes – is keen to develop their international market. A key element of their expansion program was the recent construction of a large convention facility for conferences, training seminars and international presentations.
A modernistic exterior – with design references to the original Guggenheim – contrasts basic geometric shapes with interlocking cubic and spherical elements to create an international architectural statement.
The drum-shaped auditorium is clad in enameled metal panels on the street facade, with a vast cantilevered internal glass atrium overlooking the broad walk between other buildings in the complex. Curved stainless and glass staircases within the annular atrium rise to the auditorium entrance.
Highlighted by overhead spotlights, horizontal bands on the atrium’s cylindrical interior wall suggest shreds of blended tobacco, with the same pattern repeated in the granite flooring below. Colors are multi-tone browns, shades of yellow and creams. Pillars are wound with hemp, and the texture of the auditorium’s sound-proof side panels resembles a section cut through a cigarette.
Inside the vast auditorium, soaring geometric arches rise from both walls and meet overhead, creating a ribbed acoustic shell within which the balconies, proscenium and stage, though composed entirely of straight lines and flat planes, nevertheless appear to have an organic presence. The architectural rhythm of these vertical and horizontal elements is highlighted by wall sconce downlights and recessed overhead spots in the arches, and blue uplighters at the base of each rib, with red LED lighting inset in the carpet delineating aisles and seating rows. One of the overhead ribs also houses banks of stage lighting, concealed from the audience, with large rear projection screens inset in the vertical frames at both sides of the stage.
Designed and specified for international-level audio-visual presentations, the new auditorium was equipped with the latest Barco digital cinema projectors and state-of-the-art AV equipment and systems. Advanced switching and dimming systems from Futronix control all auditorium lighting from minimalist polished stainless wall-mounted switch panels, and alternatively from a linked handheld touch screen wireless system ” programmed in Chinese” which then operates lighting controls from anywhere within the building or auditorium.
Specified along with other advanced building automation and AV systems, Futronix controllers provided Shanghai Tobacco with the ultimate in digitally-controlled lighting environments to complement their highly professional corporate events and presentations.