SOFTlab builds halo pavilion for google’s mountain view hq
Located in the public space surrounding Google’s new headquarters in Mountain View, Halo by design studio SOFTlab takes its formal inspiration from the pavilions typically found in Romantic English Gardens. The geode-like structures sit on a subtle hill, visible from the surrounding traffic thoroughfares. From this vantage point, Halo becomes visible just above the tree line and acts as a round pavilion with no front or back. As visitors approach it, the cylindrical form is pierced at the base by arches of varying sizes. These archways produce glimpses into the interior and unexpected cantilevers as they intersect the simple exterior form. While the exterior is clad with vertical aluminum tubes, the interior reveals a crystalline steel structure covered in dichroic acrylic.
Halo’s cylindrical form evokes pavilions in romantic English gardens | all images courtesy SOFTlab
a geod-like structure casting shifting colors and lights
The stark difference between the simple exterior and faceted interior by SOFTlab (see more here) gives the impression that visitors have entered a geode. During the day, sunlight entering from the open top of the Halo cylinder reflects off the iridescent facets of the interior onto visitors and the surrounding ground, painting them with shifting color and light. The dichroic facets of the interior filters light into various spectrums determined by the angle of view. When sunlight hits the front face of the panels, the spectrum ranges from orange to green and yellow hues. At night, LEDs in the upper portions of the aluminum tubes shine through perforations on the inner surface of the tubes, creating an animated constellation of light filtered through the inner crystalline structure. The dichroic facets are lit from behind, shifting the tonal range of light filtered to green, blue, and purple hues.
archways of different sizes create curved cantilevers when subtracted from the cylindrical form
From a distance, the LEDs reflect off the structure, revealing a more rational logic and the X bracing of the construction. The reflected light of the generative atmospheric animations gives the sense that light is blowing through Halo like wind, and the structure comes in and out of focus as if it is dematerializing behind the exterior aluminum tubes. ‘The atmospheric shifts between day and night on the interior is meant to create an otherworldly place that visitors and Google employees can escape to, and that might foster new ideas, a place to recalibrate, or simply enjoy the magic of the sunlight as it filters through the structure,’ the team shares.
the interior is a crystalline structure clad in dichroic acrylic panels.
The crystalline Halo interior comprises over 200 stainless steel modules, with over 1,400 lengths of matte anodized aluminum tube hung on the stainless steel structure to create the exterior cylindrical form. The tubes are laser cut to frame the various archways, and the upper portion houses 300 LED fixtures that appear to fade from the top of the interior through the random dissipation of perforations on the interior surface of the tubes. These LEDs are programmed with a generative atmospheric animation inspired by the movement of clouds. The team at SOFTlab worked closely with Arup’s New York office on the engineering and details.
the dichroic crystalline interior creates shifting visual patterns
sunlight is reflected off the interior facets in kaleidoscopic ways