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New Technology Makes Awkward Elevator A Thing Of The Past
- May 16, 2018 -

Elevator rides may offer an uplifting experience in the literal sense, but while they are indispensable in modern buildings, users face extremely compact spaces which are designed to fit effectively into buildings. Awkward looks at the floor or past other people’s faces reveal our discomfort with the elevator’s crowded anonymity. Couldn’t a more spatial experience lead to a more exciting journey? Flat screens and projections are starting to be included in elevators, but these are just the beginning of a revolution in the atmospheres created during vertical transportation.

Although the structure and exterior of the skyscraper have changed significantly since its first appearance, the design of the elevator cabin has not evolved in a similar manner. Clean stainless steel cabins and diffusers often create sterile features for replacing floors. Even the elevators in a luxury building, equipped with a sleek, glossy surface, are often unable to create an engaging welcome gesture for visitors - especially compared to the diversity of eye-catching staircase designs.

In a building where the entrance actually passes through an underground parking lot, the first impression you get after passing through a fire door is usually an elevator. However, this journey is almost always lacking in space. Since most elevators are mounted on axles, and the walls of the cabin are often filled with opaque material, the visual perception of the movement is limited to the number of floors that show changes.

By visually opening the ceiling, you can take the first step out of the compact cabin. Engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak introduced an early example of the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium, at the 1958 World Exposition. They glazed the ceiling of the elevator car and installed the light fixture on the edge of the ceiling of the cabin, guiding the light upwards. Therefore, they allow Expo visitors to track their journey upwards by lighting the elevator shaft. Compared to the matt view provided by most elevator shafts, this lifting visually benefits from a unique hexagonal steel frame structure and visible service piping.

To transform the normally monotonous shaft wall into a visual stimuli, New York designer Scott Vander Voort experimented with graphic design and graffiti. A hidden homogeneous lighting system in the cabin with glass walls and wall art provides passengers with a vivid view.

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