In a Berlin apartment overlooking the Spree Canal, a dialogue between interior and exterior, between artifice and nature,unfolds. The dwelling, accessed through a central foyer, is bisected by two beams, delineating living and dining spaces.Living room windows frame a tranquil street scene, while the kitchen and dining area open onto a balcony overlooking the canal’s languid flow.

One unseasonably warm day, a curious spectacle unfolded on the Spree. A once-solid sheet of ice, weakened by the rising temperature, fractured into a flotilla of smaller sheets, drifting westward behind the Wallstraße apartment. The fragmented ice glowed ethereally in the water, a spectacle of ephemeral beauty.

Inspired by this transient display, a luminous installation formed between the apartment’s dividing beams. Sheets of ice-like acrylic, each uniquely shaped, were CNC-cut and suspended from the ceiling, their translucence echoing the fractured ice below. Each sheet was meticulously anchored to hidden metal profiles within the drywall, their attachment points concealed, leaving only the illusion of weightless, floating forms.

Dimmable recessed lighting, carefully calibrated, transformed the space into a luminous ceilingscape, the acrylic sheets glowing with a warmth reminiscent of the sun on ice. This radiant tapestry not only illuminated the interior but also interacted with the outside world. The reflective acrylic surfaces mirrored the canal and sidewalk below, blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior, creating an ever-changing interplay of light and reflection.

Architect: ALLEN KAUFMANN Architekten

Design: Justin Allen

Fabrication and Installation: Justin Allen

Photography: Yuzhu Zheng