Denizens of New York will surely recognize the address 200 Park Avenue. They’ll likely know that common parlance has this locale the MetLife Building (formerly the Pan Am Building). But if they’ve yet to set foot inside, they may not know that inside the Vanderbilt entrance lobby of this particular building resides a stunning wire sculpture called “Flight” (constructed by artist Richard Lippold). And they probably have yet to hear that said work of art has recently been brought to scintillating and luminous life through a mammoth lighting installation by architect/designer Antonio Di Oronzo and bluarch architecture.
Flight Sculpture with LED Illumination. Lighting Design and Installation by Antonio Di Oronzo.
Antonio Di Oronzo of bluarch architecture + interiors + lighting Shows “Flight” in its Best Light
The objective of Di Oronzo’s design was not to rival or attempt to upstage Lippold’s sublime sculpture, but rather to work with it, to modulate supplemental illumination in concert with incoming natural light.
Accordingly, the installation’s emitted light fluctuates with the seasons, the time of day, even the level of cloud cover. Command central of the MetLife Lobby’s lighting is a computer operating sophisticated software that commands DMX controllers. These, in turn, instruct the LEDs at the heart of the installation to exert varying degrees of brightness, or to direct light at a specific angle—“to perform as needed throughout the day and throughout the seasons… the LED fixtures also vary in specification [angle of illumination, power, color temperature, etc.] to respond to the form of the sculpture.”
The result of such targeted lighting is that the space and the sculpture become one. Indeed, the constant give and take between the natural ambient light, Di Oronzo’s LEDs, and Lippold’s filaments of wire take flight in the form of a stunning illusion. From multiple perspectives, in varied lighting conditions, and at different times of the year, Flight seems not to be made of the strung brass wires that constitute the sculpture’s material reality, but rather of the bounding waves, the unfathomable photons, the mystic aura of pure light.
About the Designer: Antonio Di Oronzo, principal of bluarch architecture + interiors + lighting in NYC, is an architect, interior designer, urban planner, construction manager, and professor. Between teaching stints at The City College of New York, Parsons School of Design, and New School, Di Oronzo has managed to devise, design, and create a thing or two. His architectural commissions have included The Jewish Memorial in Berlin; The Cultural Center in Santiago de Compostela (Spain); and The Arizona Cardinals Stadium. Di Oronzo is the recipient of many international architecture and design awards including the 36th Annual International Interior Design Association Award and the 4th Annual Radical Innovation Award. His work has been exhibited at MoMa, The Centro Arquitectum in Caracas, and the Far Eastern Architectural Foundation in Taiwan.