Lighting Design at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport
Passing by New Delhi’s HOK designed new (or somewhat new at least) Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3, I was struck again by how different the concourses of this this airport “feel” when compared to other airports in other cities. I’ve flown through Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London Terminal 5, Seoul, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and the just opened Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angles and somehow the Delhi airport is still different. So what is the difference?
There are a couple of factors. Instead of using the “traditional” airport colors of grey, blue and stainless steel, the airport has an overall warm feel, with a carpet that is in an orange and red pattern, wall accents of reds, ambers and oranges and with the arrival sculpture in copper and bronze. And finally, the lighting is all fluorescent at 2700K, compared to the cool Metal Halides and a minimum of 4000K (mostly in the 6500K range), seen in the other airports. Fluorescent lighting seems to work well in the 30′ and some even higher ceilings, and given the erratic power supply and maintenance concerns, it is a good choice. I personally think that makes the most difference!
I do hope the airports authority in New Delhi is able to keep the airport maintained—I did see lamps burnt out this time round, and some cooler fluorescents as replacement lamps. It would be a pity to see a good airport look haggardly and old prematurely due to poor lighting maintenance.