Four times a day, Freigeist Burger, a new eatery in the Austrian city of Graz, changes face. FIPE Architecture worked with artist Benni Höfler to develop a patterned, painted ceiling based on the RGB colour model; bars of LED lighting installed on top reflect changing hues in the space, depending on the meal served and time of day.

Markus Fischer, the practice’s CEO and founder, explained: ‘Breakfast is more colourful, dinner is less, and closer to night, the more “neo-noir” the setting is supposed to get.’

It’s a space that forgoes decoration – Fischer explained that the team didn’t want the architecture to be dependent on it – showing instead how lighting can be utilised to its fullest atmospheric potential. ‘Most interiors need to be pimped-up with decoration in order to create proper atmosphere – we wanted the restaurant’s architecture itself to be able to create atmosphere, and furthermore, change it,’ he said.

The LED lighting system totally fit the shape of the 340-sq-m restaurant, melting into different hues depending on their interaction with the varying colour patterns above. Those patterns were specifically crafted for different zones: the bar, for example, shines redder in the evening than any other time. In another area, there is no red at all, so the room embodies a grey brightness. Covering the whole system is an expanded metal sheet that gives the feeling as if the coloured light were ‘emerging’ from above, day and night.