Sometimes a wall is not just a wall. It’s art to the nth degree.

More oft than not, I spend a great deal of time with the typical 5/8″ gypsum board stud wall… On paper, that is, for my office is happily lacking of such a mundane wall type and my apartment building is just way too old (I fear the composition of those walls, for I know they’re comprised of some great percentage of lead and asbestos. Delicious.).

These ho-hum stud walls are likely ubiquitous in your life, too (save for the USG Gypsum representative doling out industry-tailored, bright orange magic 8 balls. Yup, you read that right!). And because, you, average reader, probably spend 0-1% of your days thinking about your vertical surrounds, you likely don’t get goosebumps when you come across a magical wall system. So, humor me here, because to me, the new NYC Dior flagship store’s walls are just as, if not more, drool-worthy than the clothing contained inside these four gorgeous walls.

The facade of the redesigned Christian Dior flagship in on 57th Street is a clear-cut case of blingy-LED technology leaping over from Asia, where one face of a high-end retail store boasts more lights than Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree and its angel entourage.  Case in point: in a land where we worship Barbie, America has no such hot pink, glowing temple as exists in China (view the amazing Mattel doll’s Shanghai flagship by Slade Architecture here).

The beauty, and the key to translating the Asian persuasion into a facade appropriate for the swanky galleries and boutiques along the street is the soft, diffused glow of the Rosco LED lightpads, made even softer when the LEDs were made dimmable at the designer’s request (you know us designers, always making the specifier’s job peachy!).

Actually, the only thing I would change about this building is the horrible warmly lit canopy that totally mitigates the cool, white light emitted from the LEDs (the canopy likely has a color temperature of 2700K and the facade an astounding 5300K) . As a result, the awning just looks yellowed, aged and downright bad, like people with horrible, coffe-stained teeth who insist on wearing white button downs to (unintentionally) amp up the contrast. Gross.

A briefing on the mechanics behind the beauty:

Rosco’s LitePads are an LED source that provide a soft, even light. Perhaps more important they can be custom-made into virtually any size or shape and are only 1/3″ thick. The LitePads had to fit in between the existing struts on the façade. They are set behind a series of decorative metal sheets and fabric cannage patterns. Roscolux 3216 was laminated to the acrylic LitePad cover. To make it all work, the designers used 456 LitePad units in the building façade, doorway and columns. These LitePads were all roughly 13 ½” x 12″, yielding a 5300° Kelvin light and consuming approximately 10,000 watts. The Roscolux filter laminate helped elevate the color temperature to the desired levels. Sixteen additional LitePads were used for the awning/marquee. These units were roughly 20″ x 18″ and required 655 watts. The resulting light was a little too bright, so it was dimmed slightly.


If you think this is cool, you have to take a stroll in Shanghai! Some favorite walls from the other side of the world, including Prada and LVMH, respectively…

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