Cityscope by Marco Hemmerling



German designer Marco Hemmerling has created a faceted installation in Cologne, Germany, called Cityscope that reflects fragments of surrounding buildings.


The installation was created for architectural festival Plan08 in September.


At night the reflective, colour-distorting film on its surface becomes transparent and the structure is lit from within.


The following is from Marco Hemmerling:


Cityscope - urban kaleidoscope

The installation „cityscope“ deals with the fragmented perception of urban spaces. The bevelling structure can be seen as an urban kaleidoscope, that reflects fragmented views on the city and composes at the same time a three-dimensional image of the surrounding facades.


While moving around the sculpture the images, that reflect on the triangulated envelope, continuously change. In that way the beholder becomes an integral part of the installation and its complex reflections.


The radiant foil, that is applied to the outer skin of the sculpture reflects, dependent on the daylight situation and the position of the beholder, the light in different colours.


The colour-transformation generates an intentional alienation, that reinforces the idea of a fragmented perception.


Like the facades of a city, the specular envelope becomes transparent in the night, when the installation is illuminated from the inside. The appearance changes in another transformation-process into complementary colours and the inside of the installation can be experienced.

A sophisticated perception of urbanity is often limited to the ground floor level. „cityscope“ tries to open the perspective by concentrating different and unusual views of the urban surroundings. The crystal-like installation is positioned in front of the main station in Cologne, a highly frequented urban square, that allows different angles of vision and supports at the same time the interaction of the beholder with the installation.

The project was designed digitally in 3D from the beginning, using Rhinoceros Software. The final shape is related to the site and reacts to the height and proportions of the surroundings (station, church, dome...). The production of the elements was realized by digital fabrication technology (CAD-CAM) for both the aluminium framework and the synthetic elements of the bevelling skin. The light installation was programmed with different sequences in order to support a dynamic perception of the sculpture by night.

Posted on Monday November 24th 2008 at 2:51 pm by Matylda Krzykowski. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • fantastic

  • clay

    very beautiful use of light and environment. does anyone know what material the “colour-distorting film” might be?

  • Soap bubble learns Geometry.
    I don’t know if the Bahnhof or the Cathedral make a better background.

  • Tyler

    How many different versions of these things are people going to make?

  • kingmu

    what’s not to like?

  • Fling

    My stepmother used to wear costume jewelry with a similar patina on the evenings when she would send me off to bed with brandy spiked hot milk whilst she entertained one of my many uncles that frequently visited. I cannot regard it without imagining that it must smell of 4711, hairspray clothes and cigarette smoke. I hate it, but I love it.

  • aut

    pffff…. what´s that? a lousy triangulation with some crazy colors… looks like a bad student-project to me!

  • Fbot

    clay – Yes it looks like a dichroic film. Probably 3M?

  • harry redknapp

    Marco Hemmerling, the 1980’s Kapoor – ‘Bucky’ Fuller lovechild. sick.

  • Oil shock

    Fabulous !

  • Spacer

    In response to clay, I think it is a dichroic film. Here s a link to one website:

    The use of this material can be great or tacky. I think in this application it works. I like the change from day to night….

  • nextbigthing
  • kingmu Says:
    what’s not to like?

    I agree – this is a ‘good one’ – that is, quite a good version of the factetted aesthetic that has become the language of this century.

    I like it – and I think the fractured kaleidoscope references are valid, nay pretty – and acknowledge that this is a facetted object like a crystal, rather than just for the ‘stealth’ look. However – it’s time to acknowledge that this facetting aesthetic needs to have a line drawn under it – it’s not hard work to do this on a computer – so yes, of course all the aluminium was cut using CAD/CAM – there is more to life.

  • Sara Makki

    its a nice change in a boring enviroment

  • er

    i like the way it resonates with its surroundings

  • “What’s not to like?”

    nothing really – it’s quite nice….

    but as nextbigthing says – please take a look at

    If the cityscope is wowing you. People keep making these crystal things.
    It’s really just computer work made concrete, and the text for each project is interchangeable:
    “The objects, designed to reflect the surrounding cityscape, ”

    …. We really need to credit the Rhino/SW/Alias programmers for the vast bulk of the aesthetics of the 90’s – 00’s – just as the ancient Romans should be credited for the aesthetics of classical architecture. For it was they who decided how nodes connect to nodes, and how nurbs behave…. most designers have just been using this codex directly in their work ever since.

  • @nextbigthing and @qwerty

    thanks for remembering our crystal city mind project of August/September.

    CCM was buid and designed as a mockup first, and then realized as a
    handcrafted object. The cad involvement was reduced to lasercutting the steel.

    The Theme is very similar, as the aesthetics are let say – related. The above is more of a kapoor meets koons in a skewed bucky style. If you take a look at the coordination site, you see that we have been working with theese aesthetics for quite some years now. Marcos site is more divers in styles. (No judgement here.)

    CCM introduced deeper layers of intellectual reflection, as the object was designed with areas of selfreflection, and additionally worked as a picture sponge when installed in London: Situation fotos of the object in Berlin have been projected onto it, and started a dialogue with its position in London.

    I do not think there is a line to be drawn under the exciting polygon aesthetics, though it always has been a problem when something contemporary gets used as a mere style element where a substantial thought lacks. As we see eg on dezeen some substantial architecture and design is being built in this style.

    I do appreciate the dayface/nightface of the above, as I think the coating of the outer shell is quite exciting.

  • woooahh…. I was not suggesting anyone got there first.
    Polygons and facets are a trend that have been widely overused……

    The point from A – B – C is rarely a straight line in real life – why are polygons used rather than freehand wobbly sketched lines for example?

  • Ricky Kendall

    I’ve been working with dichroic film for 9 years now but have never been able to get the funds to do a large project. I know of many ways to alter the look of the film, the texture and have even worked with it in other artistic mediums. It is wonderful material and I will keep playing with it until some day I hope to work with it for a living. It has some very wonderful qualities both visual and environmental. Love the stuff. Wonderful work, Marco.

  • Raya

    I should say something: the people who judge by just having a look at the picture, just see Max 50% of the complete aim of the designer and I don’t think they can make a good comment but if you’ve seen it live I’m 100% sure you’ll enjoy it. I’ve seen it. It was very adventures. you can’t judge it just by seeing pictures because there is a funktion which you can understand it by seeing it LIVE! It is just like seeing a Person’s picture saying he is intelligent but you can really know it, when you ask him some questions and see him Live or read his answers or activities.
    So please comment when you have realy understand the Projekt and the aim!