The Cube by Velux by Henning Larsen is a sound retreat from the city
The Cube by Velux, a collaboration between Danish architects Henning Larsen, London studio FormRoom and Bang & Olufsen, is a haven of peace during the London Design Festival 2021
This year, the London Design Festival offers many small moments of calm nestled between facilities, pavilions, launches, events and exhibitions. Perhaps the most important is The Cube by Velux, a collaboration between Danish architecture studio Henning Larsen and long-time market leader in roof windows and dormers, Velux.
The project was carried out in collaboration with London studio FormRoom, with invaluable technical assistance from Bang & Olufsen – another iconic Danish design brand – to support the sound installation by Danish musician Kasper Bjørke.
Located on the South Rim at Observation Point, The Cube is an important piece of temporary urban sculpture. Eva Ravnborg, partner and project manager at Henning Larsen, describes how the project came about. “Velux had this idea that they wanted to make a pavilion at the LDF. They spoke with various Scandinavian companies to find a partner who shares their values. At Henning Larsen we are very aware of what daylight can do for people, especially here in Scandinavia. ‘
The ribbed wood structure directs visitors into a faceted, mirrored interior. “What we wanted to create was an installation that had an abstract artistic quality,” says Ravnbord, “something that made people think of the light of day. In our buildings we use daylight to create space, so the Velux windows become the basis of the whole design. ‘
Henning Larsen and Velux: choreographing the light of day
The interior of the Cube by Velux features Velux mirrors, speakers and skylights
Ravnbord refers to how daylight – and the lack of light – shaped Henning Larsen’s recent projects. At the Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus, an archaeological museum buried in the ground, “the lack of daylight is a key design element”. In London, the changing (and often unpredictable) light will create an ever-changing interior. “Sunlight brings a building to life. You can choreograph the way daylight penetrates and the different qualities of light – that gives us a wide range of materials, ”says Ravnbord. “When the windows of the Cube open and close, they have a kind of choreography, as if the building is dancing. ”
The Velux Cube is located on an important site on the south shore
“The Cube brings together both the Velux brand and what we really think about when we design,” says Carsten Fischer, Design Director at Henning Larsen. “When designing the interior, we wanted to create a Pantheon-type experience, with mirrors and shutters that multiply and modify the space. From sunrise to sunset, the building will create different moments that change during the day. It’s about inviting people to spend time there.
There is also the ambient soundscape. Composed by Kasper Bjørke, it integrates samples from nature to create an immersive soundtrack. A set of custom-designed Bang & Olufsen loudspeakers guarantees perfect playback. “Many of us now experience our homes a lot more during the day and see how daylight shapes our experience,” says Ravnborg. “Our everyday life is full of things that we have to react to, so we wanted this installation to be about calm and sound.
“It could be placed in many places, but we preferred that it be in a place of recreation, a place where you can get a quiet moment in your daily life. Why is daylight so important? In a hospital, access to daylight has been shown to aid healing. In schools, it helps to learn. It’s just better for your mental well-being. §