Agemar Headquarters, Greece

Pic: Nikos Daniilidis

Located in Athens, Greece, the Agemar Headquarters building is an impressive stamp on the landscape of traditional Greek suburbia.

The 30,000sqm ship-like structure is the new home for the Anangel Maritime Group and is nearly all rounded in shape, with only a few squared areas. Eleftheria Deko Lighting Design was suggested to the client by the project’s architect Rena Sakellaridou.

Eleftheria Deko, Owner and Principal Designer at Eleftheria Deko Lighting Design, recalled their application process: “We sent over our portfolio to the client and the project managers and had a long interview where we discussed our philosophy, working procedure and the approach we were going to take with lighting the building.

“Shortly after, we were told that we had been chosen above other applicants, and thus began our collaboration.”

Deko explained that the brief handed over to them from the client was not specific, but that they were targeting the scheme to be applicable for the Platinum LEED award specifications.

“We had several meetings with the architect before presenting our lighting ideas, in order to fully understand the building and get a feel for its personality and desired ambience. We were on the same track aesthetically with the architect, which created the base for a very smooth and creative collaboration,” Deko explained.

“After the presentation of the preliminary lighting design to the client and the project and construction managers, we gained their trust and everyone was happy with the lighting direction. This offered us a very open field to design the lighting schemes on this project for the interior, exterior, façade and landscape.”

Taking a little more than four years to complete, the team worked closely with numerous people to bring the concept to realisation, including Sparch Architects, in particular Rena Sakellaridou; Dimand Project and Construction managers; Dimos Kapetanelis, a lighting automation expert; Jepa Electrical Engineers; and Mc Bains and Green Living, LEED Consultants and trainers.

As is with many unique architectural projects, this one was no different, and brought multiple challenges for the team to overcome. The foundations of the design were based around the idea that the building will look like a luminous ship, not only because of its shape, but because Agemar is a shipping company. With a clear idea and concept to work towards, the team had to figure out which lighting fixtures would be suitable for a uniformed, continuous and diffused look with matching colour temperatures that would suit the white marble of the façade. The peculiarity of the structure of the building proved complicated for the locations of the fixtures. Each size and width of the different surfaces of the façade needed to be lit differently as each floor varied. The team decided on finding one fixture for each application, otherwise a narrow beam fixture for the narrow surfaces and a wide fixture for the wide surfaces would have created a dissimilarity in the intensity of light. Furthermore, the costs of multiple different fixtures would have been unaffordable.

“The final decision was to separate the luminaires in groups based on their location and to use DMX to control the intensity of each group,” explained Deko. “We also decided to use different diffused media to achieve the varied beam angles needed.”

In addition to these architectural considerations, the luminaires also had to be custom made, linear, LED, IP high rated and low on consumption due to the LEED award restrictions. After testing multiple different brands, the team opted to go with the Linea Light Group to create these specific luminaires for the project.

The luminaires were set in-ground in slots that were supported in a way that allowed for rainwater to run off. Issues with maintaining the uniformity of the façade lighting arose in areas where there was no window support to place the luminaires on. Additional bases were created specifically to elevate the fixtures to the same levels as the others.

One of the main priorities for the fixtures, aside from creating the overall desired look, was to conform to the LEED award specifications. Deko explained the luminaires chosen for the individual needs: “The main fixture we used for the façade was a custom-made linear light, 15cm long, 24V (constant voltage), 2.3W, IP65 and 3000K. Linea Light derived it from the Paseo family of linear light modules. We used 1,730 units that were connected in groups of ten.

“To wall wash the claustra, we used 1,213 BoxLED ECO M Plus G3 modules by Osram (in chains of 32 per ten metres) and 3.1W per module, IP66 and 3000K.

“At the entrance we used four smooth poles and two bollards by Simes. For the planted areas of the landscape, we used three different heights of Traddel’s Twig bollards and pole, whilst selectively up-lighting the trees with inground Linea Light spots lights of narrow and wide angles, depending on the type of tree.”

Aesthetically, the ship-like building is bright in comparison to its surroundings, however it does not disturb its neighbourhood. As Deko regarded, “it stands out with grace”.

Integrated into the lighting scheme are three fixed scenarios, one for full intensity, another at 50 percent and a third at 30 percent to tailor for different lighting occasions. There is also an extra option for dynamic lighting, which crossfades smoothly and slowly upwards and downwards between 30-100 percent, giving the impression that the building is breathing and moving like a ship.

The building’s reflection on the unlit water features adds further aesthetically pleasing layers to the structure, along with the unique light lines that follow the architectural lines, making it an iconic stamp on the landscape. Deko reflected on the importance of not over-compensating with lighting on such a structure: “As in music, the silent parts are as important as the melody, similarly we believe that the choice to keep something unlit is as important (sometimes more so) than lighting it.”

The combination of LED lighting, motion sensors and daylight sensors all helped to reduce the energy consumption for the indoor working space and the external lighting fixtures were all carefully selected for their attributes. As a result, at the end of the project’s construction, it was deservedly presented with the LEED Platinum award the team had worked so hard to achieve.