Kubik , hosting an exceptional open air club inside, made it’s debut as an "peculiar cube building". Not without conceptual objective the installation was realised at that time on a fallow ground at the riverside. The Kubik developers Modulorbeat, an office for town planning, working interdisciplinary with architects, artists and designers, would like to merge their drafts for architecture and urbanism in a smart way. “The tanks, which are ordinarily used in the chemical industry for storing liquids, camped down on the area of an old film company. With small details one can change a whole district, and they are not expensive,” Jan Kampshoff explains, one of the Kubik architects. With Kubik a
neglected urban place changes into an illuminated and highly-frequented piece of art. No better place for such a space sculpture than in the capital of Germany, Berlin, thought event manager Silvana de Hillerin during an accidental conversation with the architect Fabian Horst (Modulorbeat), who told her about new water tanks. For the organizer was clear: "We will do it in Berlin". Hardly two months later, on the 14th July, the first Kubik installation, a light space of 144 plastic tanks, firstly opened the gates for an enthusiastic public. In the meantime, the idea "Kubik" which could be realised with a low budget and only by the helping hand of the complete circle of friends, has grown up to a requested club concept in whole Europe. The office of Balestra Berlin handles international inquiries and future locations, as currently the ‘SONAR Festival’ in Barcelona or the ‘Trienal de Arquitectura’ in Lisbon. Water tanks form the base of the dynamic space sculpture Kubik as these are industry standard. The stackable plastic tanks are covered with metal struts which give the needed stability to the tanks. According to the changing venue places, these containers are arranged in a new design, so that every Kubik shows an individual architecture. The illumination is done with standard 150W luminaires and color filters, equipped with digital dimmers for brightness control. The conventional light bulb, due to the discussion about energy-saving lights already in social discredit, shows not only by this installation its quality, which could not be ignored. One single light bulb is enough for lighten up a complete 1000L tank elegantly. And in contrast to energy-saving lamps it can be dimmed with standard technology. As example, the installation in Barcelona, the hugest Kubik installation with 270 tanks in these days, has a maximum output of 40 kW. Considering that rarely all lights are shining at the same time for 100% and the digital control affecting the total output, the calculated average consumption for the club does not exceed 12-18 kW in total. In a direct comparison with spot-lamps which usually come into operation in discos, TV and on stage, and which are equipped with non-dimmable daylight luminaires of approx. 1,200 W per device, with this energybalance Kubik could even apply itself for one of the current environmental awards.For sequence control of the single luminaires lighting planner Andr as Barthelmes (LightLife,Cologne) has chosen the e:cue system, a software-based lighting control for architectural and stage applications. Especially for the acoustic synchronisation with the soundsof the VJ's and DJ's, Michael Thies from the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne developed an audio analysis tool with Max/MSP. Max/MSP sends MIDI notes and triggers tothe e:cue control system, whereat the pre-programmed basic sequences and single light moods are edited and sent to the receivers/tanks. The control circuits with 25 channels / 150 W each, are controlled by DMX512. Considering until now that Public Viewings, Open Air Cinemas or Festivals belonging to the top-rated midsummer events outside, the space-filling installation Kubik shows in an impressive way, how club architecture, urban fallow sites and leisure-time activities can be seen in a new ‘shining light’. Illuminated cubes in the colours Green, Blue and Lavender, people inside of these towered bright pieces of art dancing to the sounds of minimal electronic music, or simply enjoying the atmosphere at the bar. Or, in the spoken words of a visitor: "You feel strangely secure in this brightened space, with an open view to the sky…".
Andreas Barthelmes LightLife Gesellschaft für audiovisuelle Erlebnisse