Film editing requires not only a high degree of technical skill but also a touch of magic — a nuanced manipulation of angles, brightness, colour and other elements to expertly convey a certain mood or atmosphere. When architecture and design studio Kiki Archi (with offices in Japan and China) was called on to transform a mundane former industrial factory into an animated office and showroom for a Beijing-based film and television production company, it immediately recognized a parallel between this unique artistry and interior design.
Working with the shared principles of light and colour, the team, led by co-founders and architects Yoshihiko Seki and Saika Akiyoshi, delivered a scheme that articulates cinematic expressions in a physical form. “As the client deals with visuals, we tried to express the colours not by the colour itself but as an abstract phenomenon through light,” says Seki, referring to the large-scale colour tube installation that now dominates and divides the two-level, 620-square-metre showroom of the 2,000-square-metre workspace.
Dubbed Light Echo, the project naturally unfolds in the lobby, where visitors are greeted by an arrangement of 220-centimetre-tall transparent acrylic square prisms (finished on two of four sides with 3M reflective film) that wraps the upper portions of three walls. Set against an otherwise pristine white backdrop, the 195 vertical tubes transition from warm tangerine to shades of chartreuse and back again, creating an energetic effect. Seki replaced a portion of the original brick facade with a four-metre-high wall of glazing that allows natural light to flood the space and illuminate the iridescent materials. “The colour of the tubes will change with the brightness of the surrounding environment,” he says of the ever-fluctuating display.
Moving upstairs to the offices, where daylight doesn’t reach as easily, things become slightly cooler, more introspective. While only one colour of film was used, it takes on a blue-green tinge on the back of the prism, contributing a tranquil quality to the space. “As you go deeper inside, the light gets darker, so the tone becomes lower,” explains Seki. Wavering between reality and illusion, Light Echo is an appropriately cinematic display that evokes a sense of wonder and emotion — much like movies themselves.
For a movie production company in Beijing, Kiki Archi developed a light-shifting main character.