By Valoa Design
The Opera House in Helsinki hosts the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and is a building of national significance. It was designed by architects Hyvämäki-Karhunen-Parkkinen and opened in 1993 as the first opera house in Finland.
The lighting project resulted from participation in a lighting design competition organized by Senate Properties to celebrate Finland’s one-hundred-year independence in 2017. The competition looked for a lighting scheme that would highlight the national and cultural importance of the chosen buildings. The elegance and modifiability of VALOA’s design convinced the jury and the lighting for the Opera House and the Finnish National Museum was realized.
The aims of the lighting project were to communicate the Finnish National Opera’s cultural importance as a treasured national institution and bring vibrancy to the cityscape, particularly in the darker months.
The life and activity of the Opera are communicated in the city with three different lighting cues: the architectural look, the seasonal look, and the festive look. The architectural look – displayed when no performance is on – is composed of three shades of white light and accentuates the layered architecture of the building. The existing warm interior lighting (3000 K) is contrasted with cooler exterior white light (4000 K), with the bright Opera logo projection capturing the eye (5000 K).
The seasonal look fades in an hour before each performance starts – thereby communicating what is happening in the building and emphasizing the Opera’s active role in the capital’s cultural life. The lighting cues follow the Opera’s repertoire seasons: lively cyan in the spring and warm amber in the autumn. The festive look (dark lavender) is displayed in the high season around Christmas and New Year when classic performances draw entire families to enjoy both the spectacle and the luminous venue.