I arrive on site and straight away am immersed in an environment I wasn’t expecting. From outside, I can already glimpse contrasts, textures and colours, the work of artist Thomas Klug, whose primary material is light; my curiosity is piqued. The building’s exterior lighting is based on environmentally friendly LED technology. Besides its extraordinary energy efficiency and life expectancy far outstripping traditional incandescent bulbs, LED technology offers inordinate possibilities in terms of varying the shade and intensity of light. While Klug has opted for exterior lighting that draws on minimal power, he has installed specially-designed optics that provide excellent visibility consuming a fraction of the electricity. His creative, controlled manipulation of light means that there’s no hint of light pollution as you enter the building with its translucent architecture offering intriguing perspectives. The warm lighting is designed to protect the fauna. Skimming the ground, it casts a thin veil of light over the flora, illuminating the footpaths without dimming the stars in the sky.
An enchanting chandelier
As I push through the door into the majestic foyer, my eyes are captivated by the jaw-dropping structure hanging from the ceiling measuring 4.60 m long and 1.40 m wide. Composed of 450 pieces of eight different shapes and sizes, the chandelier is made from a dichroic filter, designed to let only a small range of the light spectrum pass through. The magical effect of this particular material gives the impression of infinite forms and the colours you see are never the same depending on where you stand and your angle of view. The sculpture is evocative of the wealth of forms you get to see when observing the behaviour of yeast as it breeds, buds and bubbles. Making the chandelier took the artist and his teams a total nine months. Judging by the sublime kaleidoscopic sculpture I see hanging over the reception area, it was well worth the time and effort.
The overall mise en scène: an artistic treatment of light and sound
The chandelier above the majestic staircase guides you through to the rest of the building. I notice that the scenographic space features a ceiling light formed of several modules made from cellulose transferred on to translucent shells. This material, which gives the light a granular effect, is part of the acoustic design of the place, absorbing sound to create a satisfyingly hushed atmosphere. The modular lighting leads me through to an events space where the former building has been preserved.
You can’t help but be impressed by the salvaged bases of the malt silos, testaments to the past that have a hand in the particular way the light is cast in the present. This vast glass-walled space looks out to a complete brewery, a breath-taking facility at the cutting-edge of technology that contributes to the constant development of Fermentis’ knowledge on fermented beverages. Well-placed accent lighting then draws my eyes to two open vats, instantly immersing me in the fermented beverages universe around which Fermentis orbits.
In the words of Klug, ‘light is music for the eyes’. A sentiment that is easy to grasp from the symphony of light he has conceived which seamlessly creates different ambiences depending on who is visiting. This place is a magical tribute to the company’s core activity, the raw material it uses – yeast –, light, the senses and how our own respond in their own unique way to the environment. An extraordinary experience that brings Fermentis closer to its customers and partners and lets them interact with this inspiring space so they can better understand their needs.