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Azure Magazine November December 2022 Cover: The Residential Interiors Issue

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Light Echo installation by Kiki Archi

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.

Light Echo installation by Kiki Archi
Light Echo, by Kiki Archi, injects a modern office with vitality while also nodding to the past in an abstract way: “The emotions and existence of the people who used to work here are felt through the sequence of warm tones.”

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.

Interior of an office for a film and television company in Beijing, featuring a blue light installation
The fixed colour tubes are positioned at a 45-degree angle to effectively capture and reflect light.

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.

Light Echo installation by Kiki Archi
In a rest area under the vibrant installation, rows of steel wires, each wrapped in transparent acrylic cylinders and lit from above and below, create a play between shadow and light.

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.

A Vivid Light Installation Illuminates a Beijing Office

For a movie production company in Beijing, Kiki Archi developed a light-shifting main character.

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