Illuminated Verticals

Posted by on June 25, 2012

When I was little the airport was a magical place.

My first visit was to pick up my grandma after she visited the Kansas City relatives. I don’t remember my brother being there so I am guessing I was about 3 or 4. We got there early and waited for her at the gate. It was night and the lights outside were beautiful. My parents told me that the luggage would be put on a shuttle and we would go get it downstairs. Of course my only experience with the word ‘shuttle’ was the space shuttle. So, I thought they were going to put my grandma’s suitcase on a rocket. It totally makes sense.

When I was in high school Denver opened the new airport. It was (and still is) beautiful. So, now I am spoiled. When I fly to Colorado I get to fly in and out of a fun, clean, lovely airport. When I get home to LA, I fly into a mean, dirty, unlovely airport. I dislike LAX so much it taints homecomings. Whether I am sad that my trip is over, or ready to be home, or however I am feeling the overwhelming emotion is dread. Dread that I have to deal with LAX.

I joke that it is like a third world country. You stand surrounded by diesel fumes, guarding yourself from pickpockets, everything is filthy, no one speaks English, it is loud and disorganized, and of course I am always exhausted.

Please don’t tell me that I should fly into another airport, all alternatives are very far away; LAX is realtively close, and the tickets are almost always cheaper. When I am planning a trip those things seem to matter, but the cost is at least 30 minutes in the passenger pickup lane.

After I am finally in whatever shuttle or van or friend’s car that is taking me out of there, there is a reward. The huge illuminated columns that were installed in 2000. They cycle through a rainbow of colors every night. They are supposed to help make the airport more welcoming. They can’t be seen from the pickup lanes or baggage claim area, so they are actually more like a happy send-off into the city – after you leave the actual airport.

This post isn’t actually about those columns, but that is what this pavilion design made me think about. Then I got started thinking about airports…

Anywhoodle… This is the GS Caltex (a Korean oil company) pavilion for the 2012 Korea expo in Yeosu, South Korea. The huge, illuminated verticals are meant to represent a bamboo stand. The ‘blades’ surround a mirrored structure and light up in ways that mimic various weather and natural conditions, like rain, waves, fire, lightning and wind.

This is the work Atelier Brückner,an architecture and exhibit design firm based in Germany.

Because the lights are so active, the video shows the impact much better than the still photos ever could.

This pavilion is awesome. I wish LAX were completely covered with a gigantic bamboo stand that lit up in interesting ways…


Photos from Designboom and the Atelier Brückner website

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