Beautiful arcades, glass domes, walkways and carved façades
“De Passage” in The Hague consists of two parts; the classic Passage and the Nieuwe Passage. At 135 years, the classical part is the oldest shopping arcade in the Netherlands and contains beautiful arcades, glass domes, walkways and carved façades. The Nieuwe Passage, which opened in 2014, forms the long-desired direct connection between the Oude Passage and Grote Marktstraat, where the Bijenkorf is located. The building was designed by the eminent architect Bernard Tschumi. His intention was to give the building an open, transparent and light character. Just like the historic Passage, the Nieuwe Passage therefore has a high glass roof and a glass façade, but in today’s style.
Full integration into the architecture
ASR Real Estate, the owner of the Passage, has been managing and investing in homes, offices and agricultural land as a real estate asset manager on behalf of its clients for more than 125 years now. No great efforts were required to get ASR excited about the idea of a digital screen. In addition to being a source of income and a communication platform, they saw the arrival of a screen primarily as an opportunity to further enhance the iconic character of the Nieuwe Passage. There was one important condition, though; the open character of the building had to be preserved and the screen had to be fully integrated into the architecture. Not an easy task, when you consider that the place where the screen had to be is made entirely of glass.
The concept: the Ambient Façade
Design a media screen integrated into the façade in such a way that the open character of the façade is preserved’. With that task, we approached architectural firm UNStudio. Inspired by a project by UNStudio in Zurich, they came up with the concept of the ambient façade. By installing LED strips in the frames around the glass, the entire glass façade subtly changes colour with the content that can be seen on the screen. By involving the entire façade and placing screens on both the inside and the outside, an integrated LED wall of more than 65m2 is created.
To complete the integration into the architecture, the glass façade was covered with the dotted pattern that you also find on the outer walls of the Passage. The light from the LED strips reflects on the dotted pattern, creating a beautiful diffused light, while the LED strips themselves are not visible to shoppers.
An extra dimension
The diversity of the content in combination with the futuristic LED façade provides an extra dimension to the experience of the visitors of Grote Marktstraat. The aim of ASR – to strengthen the iconic character of the Passage – was thus achieved. Because of the careful integration, the municipality of The Hague also agreed with the plan. Thanks to a positive advice from Welstand, an environmental permit was granted that also allows commercial exploitation. Ocean Outdoor can offer its advertisers airtime on a high-quality screen in the busiest shopping street in The Hague. The weekly reach has half a million contacts, who can be sent an impulse just before the moment of purchase.
“The innovative technology used for the spectacle on the façade enables us to further shape the ideas of architect Bernard Tschumi. The aim is to position De Passage as a style icon in the city centre of The Hague. The screen is a wonderful result of many years of collaboration between Ocean and a.s.r.!”.