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Ayrim Yaser Talu

 


Lighting designer  

ZEVE 

Istanbul, Turkey

 

Interview by Jorge Rubio

Merkez Nur Mosque, Kirikkale, Turkey © Idris Ekinci
Lighting designer Ayrim Yaser Talu
Ayrim Yaser Talu, the lighting designer in the studio of ZEVE Engineering and Lighting in Istanbul who was responsible for the Kirikkale Merkez Nur, has been awarded the “Award of Merit” in the 33rd edition of the IALD International Lighting Design Awards 2016 and second place for structure high budget of the darc awards 2016. Luminous magazine interviewed him.
Designed by the prestigious architect Necip Dinç, the Kirikkale Merkez Nur mosque is in the city of Kirikkale in Central Anatolia (Turkey). Finally completed in 2015, the huge structure has an interior area of 26,000 m2 and can hold up to 10,000 people. The mosque has a role as a religious symbol of the city, during both night and day, so the lighting design needed to highlight and demonstrate the spiritual identity of the building at night.

Ayrim Yaser Talu, the lighting designer in the studio of ZEVE Engineering and Lighting in Istanbul, embraced this challenge and overcame it with the greatest of success to be awarded the “Award of Merit” in the 33rd edition by IALD – International Association of Lighting Designers.

What materials were used? How was it built?

The façade of the mosque was clad mainly with Anatolian white stone, whereas the cladding to the cornices and other projecting elements was in Ankara Sincan andesite stone. The window frames and pediments are made from black Kutahya marble and the columns are of white Marmara marble.

Additionally, the undersides of the minaret balconies and the column heads were ornamented with stone muqarnases (A type of corbel used for decoration in Islamic and Persian architecture). All the domes and roofs were covered in 2mm of pure lead.

The crescents which complete the appearance of the domes are custom-designed and made up of copper sheets shaped by hand.

What was your main creative motivation/inspiration?

Our lighting design work started with a few simple questions: could we really use light to add emotion to the building? Does light really have the power to influence people? Our answers to these became our main motivation throughout the design stage.

What is the spirit of the lighting on this project? 

Mysticism. We used ‘light’ and ‘shadow’ to add a mystic appearance to the building and to give form and definition to it by lending contrast at various points throughout the structure. For example, the incident light coming from a short distance away added three-dimensionality to the onion-shaped mini domes on the carrier columns by creating heavy shadows and allowed sparkles on the little crescents. 

Whereas the half-domes were left in the dark, the patterned windows underneath were lit. The big windows in the lower half of the mosque were accentuated by the lighting up of narrow beams, while creating sharp dark surfaces between them. We achieved dramatic effects on the columns with muqarnas on top by projecting narrow beams from a short distance.

What was the brief for the lighting design?

It asked us in our design approach to emphasize the spiritual identity of the mosque and to create an icon for the city of Kirikkale.

How was light embedded into the façade?

We wanted to preserve the daylight appearance of the architecture. Therefore, the products we used were painted the same colors as the surfaces and placed in niches and behind flowerpots wherever possible.
Merkez Nur Mosque, Kirikkale, Turkey © Idris Ekinci

How did you play with the color temperature?

We selected the color temperatures of the light sources in order to create fine gradations between the mosque’s complex surfaces from the bottom up. The main dome was lit from its slopes in cool white and the brass crescent on the top of it and minarets in super-warm white, while the carrier columns around the dome and the patterned windows between them were lit in warm white.

The inner surfaces of the entrance domes were lit homogenously with a wide beam of warm white fixtures, whereas the main door was highlighted with a spotlight of super-warm white hidden behind the arch. In order to accentuate the patterned rectangular windows in the towers, cool white fixtures were placed in the niches, whereas the towers themselves were lit with super-warm white in linear narrow beams.

Why did you use LED lighting?

First of all, we wanted to benefit from the low energy consumption of the LED light sources and precise light beams of LED fixtures. Secondly, the design process for this complex structure was quite challenging so we needed various types of lighting fixtures, with different beam angles and in different powers. At that point we took advantage of the wide range of Philips Color Kinetics products.

How was the installation carried out and the cabling installed?

The installation of the products was another challenge. Depending on the application area, different kinds of mounting brackets were designed. Of course, the cabling was pre-planned before the installation. In some cases, such as in the main dome, the cables were hidden under the eaves.

What were the main difficulties that you faced?

We wanted to foresee all the difficulties beforehand. Therefore, we did very sensitive 3D modelling of the mosque. That gave us, first of all, a basis from which to achieve our lighting design goals.

We did a great deal of photorealistic night renderings during the final design. The best part of this was that it gave an interactive environment through which we could get feedback from the architect and the owners. In addition, we saw in advance all the difficulties that we would face in the installation.

How were the lighting controls made?

Actually we used very conventional approach to lighting control based on pre-planned scenarios. Using the 3D modelling, we created night-time scenarios and grouped the lighting fixtures accordingly.

How did the mosque believers respond to this innovative illumination for the city of Kirikkale?

The simplest way to describe it is to say that many people were shooting photos and taking selfies with the mosque behind them in the background.
Interview published in Luminous Magazine 18/2016

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