Singapore Freeport

Singapore Freeport


The light design for the Singapore Freeport consists of a collection of lighting installations.  The installations, designed as a series of light architectures, include:

-  Façade (“bioluminescent tags”) 
-  Exterior entry corridor ( “a sky ribbon of light”) 
-  Lobby/courtyard area (“a 3D hanging maze light garden”) 
-  Corridors (1. “Sky light boxes” and 2. “XXX crystal ceiling” )
-  Offices (“window slashes”)

Each of these areas was specifically designed to dialogue with and integrate into the architecture of Carmelo Stendardo and the sculpture by Ron Arad. as well as contribute a new layer of effects and sensorial information to the building and the functions therein.

Bioluminescent Tags

The façade lighting was designed to create an effect of “bioluminescence’ of the plant façade. We designed a pattern of stainless steel panels that hook onto the architectural mesh of the façade and project green LED light back towards the plant façade. This gives the “skin” of the building a day and night life, and emphasizes the green plant effect as well.  In the daytime, the panels, reflect the sky and surroundings. At night, they will become darkened “windows” from which the green backlight towards the plant façade emanates.

Sky Ribbon of Light

The exterior Entry corridor instead was designed to create a ribbon of light (fluorescent lights with a continuous Barrisol stretch fabric diffuser) that brings you along the existing architectural corridor/portico, towards the front door, where a large strong spot light denotes the entry door.  This ribbon of light will be a strong sign on the façade and is important to break up the HUGE scale of the building.  Eventually, a custom designed mosaic tile mural, will be installed along the corridor wall, which will also be illuminated by the installation.

3D Hanging Maze Light Garden

The lobby lights are a 3-D version of the light pattern on the exterior façade, and hang at different levels and directions in the huge “courtyard” space. The lights are made in acrylic with LED strips and clad in one-way mirror film so that,  in the daytime, the light boxes will look like hanging mirror “walls” and reflect the lobby and skylight. At night, the boxes, as well as the one-way mirror windows around the courtyard, will glow in the space, like floating glowing walls, disconnected from the structure.

Sky Light Boxes

The Freeport plan is organized around an interior arteries grid  of wide corridors. For these important areas, we designed 2 different integrated luminous ceiling systems. One system, for the more common areas, consists of a pattern of luminous Barrisol boxes alternating with heavy industrial metal mesh ceilings.  We used very special colored fluoro tubes in the luminous boxes in order to create a blu sky-like glow.  The corridors are totally without windows, so we wanted there to be “daylight” or something a little more magical, always.

XXX Crystal Ceiling 

The second solution, called “XXX”, is for the more exclusive areas and consists of a crossing X texture of LED and acrylic lights, with mirrored sides and ceiling, extending the length of the corridors. It is a very sensual and moody light, and creates light effects on the floor as well as the walls, to make a total ambiance of light and light effects.

Window Slashes

The ambient  lighting inside the actual office spaces is designed to enhance the window pattern of the openings, which mimics again pattern of the exterior openings and 3-D hanging light garden.  Visible from the lobby side as well as in the offices, we designed light slashes, thin panels in polished stainless steel, with a strip of LED light behind. Mounted at the edges of each of the long slot windows, they express to geometry of the window openings and provide a minimum of indirect ambient light to the offices around the lobby.


An important aspect of the project that we have considered and that was emphasized in the project brief from the client was the ecological impact.

In the new world, with the awareness of an inevitable, eventual post-oil and post –metal future, the use of high-performance materials, such as polished stainless steel, acrylic,  and LED lights seems luxurious. We tend to assume that the only ecological choices are recycled or organic materials. But ecology is more nuanced and complicated than just recycling. Life span and life-cycle must be considered. And in the case of product, light  and furniture design in particular, sometimes the most ecological materials and techniques to use are counterintuitive.  Ultimately, the most ecological material is the one that can do it’s job with the least amount of material, thus sparing the earth unnecessary extraction of raw materials. 

I am very interested in designing lighting and furniture that utilize long-lasting materials, exquisite craftsmanship, and precision detailing.

The life-span of objects made carefully, and with correct materials, is long and steady.  And the life-cycle, one of the most important indicators of any truly ecological process, is better when pieces are built to withstand generations of use; passed along and perhaps even “use-recycled”, like an antique crystal cabinet, or a mother’s Hope Chest. 

There have always been precious objects- artifacts of our existence. Finite materials, such as steel, will become more and more precious and rare, as the planet is depleted of its metal veins. One ecological idea is longevity not landfill.

Johanna Grawunder