Visualisation of glowing pavilion at night

Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design clads immersive theatre venue in luminous tiles

Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design has orchestrated a lighting scheme for an open-air theatre complex in Emeishan City, China, centred on a pavilion encrusted with 50,000 illuminated tiles.

The venue, named Unique Mount Emei Land of Dramas, spans 78,000 square metres and three distinct locations, including the main tile-clad pavilion, an outdoor courtyard area and a group of real Chinese village dwellings.

Visualisation of glowing pavilion at night
The Unique Mount Emei Land of Dramas venue consists of three separate locations

Design studio Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design used dramatic statement lights mixed with soft atmospheric illumination to help set the scene inside the venue, which was designed specifically for one immersive theatre production.

The play, created by Chinese stage director Wang Chaoge, explores Buddhism and the history of nearby Mount Emei – one of the four sacred mountains of Chinese Buddhism.

Visualisation of glowing pavilion at night
Among them is an illuminated pavilion called Beyond the Cloud

Aside from the glowing pavilion, Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design used found objects, such as sinks, to form luminaires for the show and lit artificial mist using white lights to make the audience feel as though they are walking above the clouds.

The venue's centrepiece is Beyond the Cloud – a pavilion clad in 50,000 illuminated glass and ceramic tiles that are finished in shades of blue-green, white and grey.

This treatment of the facade references the popular motif of rivers and mountains in traditional Chinese paintings.

Detail of glowing pavilion cladding
Glowing glass and ceramic tiles overlap to create the facade

Next to the pavilion, white gravel helps to delineate the second theatre location, called By the Cloud.

This outdoor area facilitates further performances and provides an open space where the dramatic effects of the lighting design become more apparent, Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design said.

Throughout the courtyard, the roofs of vernacular village dwellings appear to be sunken into the ground to provide the audience with the sense of standing on top of Mount Emei – an experience that is further heightened by the hazy, cool-toned landscape lighting.

Walkways are picked out with guide lights to allow the audience to walk safely between the structures and further immerse themselves in the performance.

Visualisation showing figure with parasol in nighttime setting with pavilion behind
Warm spotlights compliment the venue's outdoor location, dubbed By the Cloud

The final setting, Beneath the Cloud, takes over the old dwellings of Gaohe Village, which Wang and her team turned into an immersive performance venue.

Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design opted to adapt existing artefacts such as crockery, sinks and woven baskets to provide light sources for the performance, as opposed to specifying modern fittings.

Visualisation showing figures in Chinese village setting
Warmer lighting is used around the village dwellings in the final setting

Here, low-brightness spotlights help to recreate the atmosphere of rural nighttime, in contrast with the dramatic backdrop provided by the looming pavilion.

Unique Mount Emei Land of Dramas is among five projects shortlisted in the architectural lighting design category of this year's Dezeen Awards.

Other projects in the running include one lighting scheme that celebrates London's bridges and another designed by Studio N for a spa in Dubai.

All images are courtesy of Beijing Leuchte Lighting Design.