Located in the historic EUR district of Rome, La Nuvola is named for the extraordinary free-form cloud-like structure set within its contextually sensitive cuboid of steel and glass. Instantly iconic for it’s sheer scale and exuberance, the lighting approach is designed to enhance the unique architectural qualities of light, translucency and openness while creating a dramatic nighttime identity, and an immersive experience that explores the essential nature of a cloud.

In celebration of its macro scale and distinctive organic nature, the entire ‘Cloud’ is lit from within. The 15,000m2 of undulating translucent fabric acts as a single, gigantic source of light that appears to hover within the rigidly orthogonal building. The glowing form draws the eye through the glazed screen creating a fabulous external tableau.

Special programming adds texture and dynamism to the ‘Cloud’ through subtle, continuous variation in the tones of white light. This effect is layered with soft shadowing, generated by careful positioning of the lighting equipment within the complex three-dimensional steelwork.

While beautiful, this solution is also highly practical as it provides the majority of the light needed for the functional operation of the building. All other lighting is subservient and supplementary, included only where necessary for safety and security requirements.

A deep understanding of the beauty inherent in the essential nature of clouds is the key to the exceptional lighting design for La Nuvola. Clouds are dynamic and transitory in nature, revealed by ever-changing daylight. Clouds have tones, textures, movement and areas of light and shade. The approach to La Nuvola is designed to bring these qualities to the ‘Cloud’ with detailed programming that varies the tones of the light in a natural, understated way; reminiscent of sunlight filtering through a storm cloud passing over. This, combined with the carefully designed shadowing that makes use of the complex three dimensional steelwork, brings a whole new level of depth and interest to the experience of the space.
To achieve this, the development of the design was rigorous. Two mock-ups on massive scale were conducted, testing the qualities of various luminaires and establishing the best positioning to create the lit effect, while integrating the equipment seamlessly into the structure and providing sufficient functional light. The translucency of the canvas on the changing colours and movement of the light was also extensively tested.
The finished effect is jaw-dropping. From the exterior, the use of the ‘Cloud’ as a sole source of light creates a spectacular image that underlines the bold architectural intent. Within, the space is enhanced by the subtle tonal variations and soft shadow play, creating the experience of what it might be like to take a walk in the clouds.