Dark-Sky Design: Citylights by Dominique Perrault
Architects & Firms
Located in a previously industrial part of Paris, the 1975 Pont de Sèvres Towers, designed by Badani and Roux-Dorlut, have been reimagined by French architect Dominique Perrault. Renamed Citylights, the once detached office complex now embraces the city with sustainable prism-shaped buildings that illuminate the rapidly developing district (dubbed Trapèze) with a gentle luminosity. The design team’s goal was to enhance the towers with discreet yet precise lighting that respects area residents and the ecosystem of the Seine’s riverbanks. To do this, they encircled one-third of the aluminum facades, at different heights, with a “bracelet” comprising folded modules (above) made of pronounced metal aprons, two layers of glass (an extra-clear, single-glazed pane forming an outer skin and a double-glazed window within), and an LED system. Sandwiched between the glass, recessed LEDs radiate toward the lintels and metallic facade, which then casts indirect light toward the mullions. Passersby are never dazzled. They see only luminous reflections that, within this urban context, bring a human scale to the architecture.