Facade lighting highlights the historical building's architectural details and creates a new landmark in Bergen.

Customized luminaires and a sophisticated control system ensure energy efficiency, reduced light pollution, and keep the lighting in proper contrast to the surrounding environment.

Client : DNB Næringseiendom

Architect : Vill Arkitektur, Norway

Photographer : Øystein Klakegg

Completion year : 2021

Awards : Honourary Mention, the Nowegian Lighting Design Award 2021

Designing attractive urban environments

This historical building on Markeveien, is located in the city center of Bergen in Norway and designed in 1912 by architect Einar Oscar Schou, then named Bergens Telefonkompagnie. The building and its façade are historical treasures and one of the few preserved facades after the Bergen fire of 1916.

The renovation of Markeveien 1 is part of Bergen municipality’s city development to create an attractive urban environment with a focus on the pedestrian experience through improved facade design, lighting, and urban planning.

The facade lighting has played a key part in increasing visibility, enhancing the area’s identity, and contributing to creating a safer area as the building emerges as a way-finding element.

The lighting is designed with respect for the historic elements and with the intention of highlighting the characteristic features of the building, e.g., we developed a customized bracket with a parabolic reflector to illuminate the tiny ornaments on the facade.

The side tower receives unique treatment to emphasize its height and form.

Luminaires shine a cool white upon the roof’s stone surface.

Luminaires shine a cool white upon the roof’s stone surface.

Preserving the historical expression and reducing light pollution

While the formal elements of the building; the planes of the façade, stone columns, and the reaching tower, provide a calm background, the restrained use of light enhances the cityscape and respects the historical aesthetic. Moreover, all lighting is either directed downward or focused entirely on the façade surface, reducing light pollution, and promoting efficient use of light.

The building foundation features linear lighting providing sufficient light at street level that integrates into the urban environment. Between the heavy stone columns, the small luminaires are completely concealed from view, illuminating the negative surfaces, and connecting the structure to the pedestrian level.

The entrances have a great richness of detail in the design of the doors which are accented by vertical illuminance, highlighting the fine craftsmanship and providing a feeling of a warmth.

The distinctive series of ornaments above windows on the second level consist of smaller carvings that stand freely on the wall. A custom-made bracket uses a simple parabolic form to redirect light onto these details. This solution allows the luminaires to be concealed on the building façade while the reflector is aesthetically consistent with the surrounding material and fades from view, even in daylight.

To preserve the façade’s integrity, purity and historical expression, cabling and connection points are carefully concealed from view, leaving a daytime façade with no visible technical installation.


Frederik Friederichs

Group Manager and Senior Lighting Designer, NO