Dandi kutrir lighting By Atelier dada

Lighting for Mahatma Mandir and Dandi Kutir shall mainly evoke a sense of peace, calm, determination and meditation on a daily basis. It shall also offer a stage for celebration to all.
  • PROJECT NAME:Dandi Kutir Lighting 
  • LOCATION:gandhinagar
  • PRINCIPAL LIGHTING  ARCHITECTS:Nirmit Jhaveri & Marie Ikram Jhaveri
  • LIGHTING MASTER PLAN and DESIGN GUIDELINES:Marie Ikram Jhaveri & Nirmit Jhaveri
  • LIGHTING DESIGN ASSISTANTS:Yagnesh Mistry + Rahul Mishra
  • SCOPE AREA:Interior lighting ~12000sqm + Landscape Lighting 55955sqm +Facade Lighting ~10000sqm
  • SITE AREA:869326  sqm
Mahatma Mandir campus was one of the most ambitious cultural public project conceived and implemented by Gujarat Government under leadership of hen Chief Minister Mr Narendra Modi. The campus design and building was initially assigned to L&T after an invited competition conducted under professional advice of CEPT CRDF for Gujarat Government.  Project got completed in four parts where the convention centre materialised in phase 1a and 1b and the Gandhi Garden, Dandi Kutir, Roof top of Convention centre and connecting bridge got completed in later two phases 2a and 2b. 
After completion of first two parts, CEPT’s Electrical consultant suggested the Architects VMS and project co-ordinator that such an important project of a landmark scale shall go through the expert lighting designers and consultants should be brought on board. 
Atelier dada was appointed as lighting master planner for the last two phases of whole project, successfully did the planning and execution design for the Gandhi Garden in Phase2a and did the planning and execution design of the Salt mount, Sand mound and the encircling water body that is now recognised as part of Dandi Kutir Museum. They also did the master planning for the bridge, forecourt and the museum interior and provided a lighting design guideline to be followed by the contractor SPCL in phase 2b. 

As part of Government’s professional advisor to co-ordinate and monitor the EPC contract with SPCL in phase 2b, Atelier dada reviewed and approved the lighting concepts, enhanced designs and help choose the right technology and supervise the installation and help in aiming, focusing and scene setting. Lighting Operation and maintenance guidelines were also developed so the impression and investments are long lasting.
The architectural scheme takes inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’s famous Salt march as part of the freedom movement which took place in Gujarat’s Dandi village in 1930. It has four main elements that needed to be distinctly lit with a meaningful visual hierarchy. Namely the Salt mound in centre, enveloped by the sand mound, water body, the landscaped gardens and the connecting bridge. 41m high and 90m dia salt mound has been discreetly lit with precise optics to impart utmost visual comfort and prevent light pollution. Lighting a conical structure evenly, discreetly and with least energy had been a challenge we enjoyed to tackle. We light the cone from its base and from the terraces of adjoining building to keep the fixtures most discreet.
Dandi Kutir architecture is a homage to the famous salt march and freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi who is also father of nation and one of the most contemporary inspirational figures. CEPT’s principal architect’s vision was to portray this building as a homage to Mahatma and to have a sense of calm and meditative feeling like one has under the full moon. On the other hand the chief minister wanted it to be an ultimate knowledge centre on Mahata Gandhi in the vicinity of one of the largest and finest convention centre in the state of Gujarat. The complex shall show the might and power of Mahatma’s philosophy based on eight vows and serve as a temple of Gandhian values for businesses and conventions which will take place in the vicinity. 

Our vision for salt mound of Dandi Museum by night is to see it as an iconic message canvas, bearing layers of history and culture of Gandhian era and its continuation in current and coming generations. We wanted to use the architecture as a screen to display message of Gandhiji’s life and character, his state and country and to bring it out at a large scale in an artistic manner. This way lighting helps extend the message of museum outside the conical shell also. We also, wanted to connect this building with the royal axis where in at one end the state assembly plays role as a place of action and this campus shall form the other end of axis, as a place of inspiration.
Through an integrated media façade lighting within the cone and other combined lighting technics, Atelier dada lighting scenario was to recreate the shimmering soft sparkles of Gujarat’s white desert crystals salt under moving sunlight as day to day lighting scenography, with adapted lighting scenes where light intensity decreases through the night, to prepare gradually the city dwellers to the resting time. For events, this dynamic lighting installation would display Gandhiji‘s quotes and other meaningful graphics so to create a vibrant icon in the city skyline.
This design was dreamt to be open and participative, allowing artists to use the constantly implemented tools while come up with new ideas through the years, yet making it interactive as well for certain events.
After the initial deliberations and proposal, the brief from the client modified to make the project have the look and feel of a calm retreat, with minimalistic lighting of the exteriors while keeping the vibrancy and highlight of Gandhiji life events inside the Museum only, which Atelier dada handled creatively and efficiently to everyone’s satisfaction. 
Lighting master plan economised the whole project cost by first establishing what exactly should be lit and what should not. Then based on the emotional requirement of each place an ambience and atmosphere was established with defined qualities in terms of color, brightness, location, mounting and distribution of light, thus to the create the befitting ambience in the space with appropriate play of light and shades, reflections and textures. 
To be noted that preliminary concept of a vibrant and communicative building based on Gandhiji’s life and message is again in debate with the new administration.  Perhaps soon some action will be taken to exploit the potential of this place as place of communication.
Salt mound is kept most bright and with the gradient of warm at a base and cool white at a peak keeping the fixtures aiming sideways and facing perpendicular to the façade to have a sense of soft light.

Sand mound is lit with very warm white and high contrast light shooting parallel to give some sandy texture.Water bodies are given deep blue colored light to give a sense of freshness and celebration. 
The surrounding landscape and peripheral roads are lit in such a manner that there is always an unobtrusive focus on the salt mound the main structure. We didn’t allow any poles or other lighting structures between the main mound and the approach road. This kept the whole scheme neat and clean by the day and maintained the focus on core structure and yet achieve the required ambience with quality light. All the lights in the landscape are very low height or discreetly integrated in the street furniture or the trees. And hence very soothing and retains the meditative quality required in the campus. By night, the gardens are full of people enjoying soft and relaxed conversations. Low scale of light in forecourt ensures the required silence and the high scale of light on the mound imparts a sense of safety and magnanimity.

The connecting bridge structure were also advised to light in a sober manner that there shall be no pole to be used and it shall be well visible from the side approach roads and far. This being a cable styed bridge with a wind mill was a special one to highlight the windmill which will be visible from far.
Bridge is indeed a place of reflection and relaxation in the hot arid climates and unobtrusive light rightly serves the purpose. Thus our intent was to keep the velum of light low with Handrail and I beam integrated lights that provide a smooth and safe transition and seamless vision of the structure. And fit it well in the overall masterplan as a link to convention centre and the museum. 
Spaces below the bridge are planned to be used for an informal gathering with theatrical lights and effects of water caustics, while views of the conical salt mound are unobtrusive and provide a stunning welcome with continuous hidden lights.In general, lighting aimed to serve the required emotional aspect of meditation and a subtle grandeur to the project. Do visit the museum when you happen to be in Gujarat and know better the grand personality of Mahatma Gandhiji and ponder upon his life’s message in this special environment made of light! 

Previous Post Next Post