Posts tagged with "Lighting":

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Video> The Sound and Light of Berlin’s Trees

Even as Berlin loses green space, the city remains Europe’s greenest with more than 400,000 trees. One of the grandest, a 100-year-old chestnut tree towering over Montbijoupark, was the center of Tree Concert, a public art project that took place in September to bring light, literally, to the city’s diminishing greenery with a glowing LED sculpture circling the trees trunk. The project was a combination of audio and visual elements. As chestnuts fell one after the other onto a series of internally lit shapes covered with polymer membranes placed around the tree, ambient sounds emanated from hidden speakers creating a symphony for park goers. Tree Concert was put on by the ad agency Proximity BBDO Berlin and the environmental organization BUND for Environment and Nature Conservation Germany, inspired by recent years when more trees have been cut than planted. The groups also wanted to draw awareness that trees are not being properly maintained because of a lack of funding. Thus they created an easy way to donate through text messages from passing visitors. The design was executed by Gang of Berlin with music from Ketchum Pleon PR.
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Hand-Crafted High-TechLight Bulb Channels Edison

They're being phased out in Europe and in many other countries around the world (but not in the U.S.), but there's no denying that the soft, yellow glow from incandescent light bulbs—especially the low-Wattage Edison original that's a staple in any Brooklyn-chic bar or restaurant—hasn't been matched by fluorescent or LED alternatives. Until now. Lancaster, PA-based artist Luke Anderson partneres with a ceramicist and a glass blower to create a larger-than-life modern version of the Edison bulb called Alva—the famous inventor's middle name—built with modern LED technology but with the nostalgic glow of the original. Lancaster took his design for Alva to Kickstarter in search of $4,000 to move the lamp into production, but the concept has exploded and the campaign has already raised over $27,500 with 12 days to go. Anderson described his process on Alva's Kickstarter page:
Last fall I began working on Alva. I sketched pages of variations to determine the best way to display a glowing coil. It took me several weeks and many materials until I found the best solution for the filament itself. I toyed with the idea of not using a glass bulb, or replacing the glass with a simple wire to suggest the bulb shape while leaving the filament exposed. In the end, I felt that the way Edison displayed his prototypes for demonstration would be best...a simple base holding a bulb vertically.
The glass bulb and ceramic base are both hand made, making standardization difficult. Anderson modeled the lamp in CAD and used the 3-D files to create molds for the final lamp. The lamp stands17.5 inches tall and is available in brown, white, or black. You can reserve your Alva by contributing to the Kickstarter campaign and the lamp is expected to retail for $550 once in full production. [Via Jetson Green.]
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Lutron Lights up the Empire State Building

When construction was completed on the Empire State Building (ESB) in 1931 it cost $25.6 million—that's just $9.20 per square foot. You can't even build a single floor for that nowadays, much less a 1,454-foot tall skyscraper (adjusting for inflation, the ESB would cost $352 million today). Though the building hosts events and tour groups, most of us only see it from the outside and don't realize that the reason it's known as the World's Most Famous Office Building is because tenants occupy the vast majority of its 102 floors. And like any other office building, lighting consumes the majority of its electrical costs—a whopping 39 percent. In order to meet their stringent return-on-investment requirements, Anthony Malkin, President of Malkin Holdings, which owns the ESB, and Jones Lang LaSalle, an energy and sustainability consultancy, commissioned Lutron to supply pre-built tenant spaces throughout the building with sustainable lighting control solutions as part of the Clinton Climate Initiative Building Retrofit program aimed at improving efficiency and financial performance. The building-wide retrofit is projected to provide a total lighting energy savings of up to 65 percent and a reduced installed payback period of just 2.75 years. Overall, the Lutron system will reduce energy use by 38 percent and energy bills by $4.4 million per year. Moreover, the upgrade will prevent an estimated 105,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years. The concept is simple: use less light, less often. Just as automatic faucets solved the problem of people forgetting to turn the water off at the sink, automatic sensors in Lutron's wireless lighting system turn lights off when a room is unoccupied. They also dim the lights according to the amount of daylight in a room so tenant spaces aren't over-lit and only use as much light as is necessary. "It's not about going without," said Lutron's President, Michael Pessina, "it's about not spending for what you don't need." It works like this: An occupancy/vacancy sensor is installed in the ceiling and/or in the corners of the room. In test mode you can check to make sure the sensor can reach the entire room and there aren't any dead spots. The sensors, which track motion and temperature and control both lighting and HVAC systems, offer three levels of sensitivity, from basic body movement to small, isolated actions like typing on a keyboard. The sensors are operated by small remotes and dimmers that can be attached to the wall like a standard light switch or left free to be used at your desk, couch, meeting area, etc. The sensors can be customized to power on and off automatically or to be powered on by the user and powered off automatically with various time-out times. In the Empire State Building, where overall usage is metered, tenants also have the option to install sub-metering units that allow them to monitor their energy consumption in real-time and make adjustments to consume less and, ultimately, pay less on their monthly bills. "It sounds basic," said Lutron's ESB project lead Tom Myers, "but making sure lights are only on when people need them is a big deal in terms of savings." As you would expect, Lutron's Manhattan office is equipped with all the bells and whistles, including a wall-mounted LCD TV where energy consumption is tracked in real time and adjustments can be made with an iPad application. Large windows that offer an impressive view of the city (which, in case you were wonderings, includes the ESB) are fitted with automatic shades programmed to raise and lower according to the amount of daylight in the room. You've probably seen motorized shading systems that aren't completely accurate and, over time, don't line up with one another anymore, but unlike many such systems on the market, Lutron's motor is not only completely silent, it's guaranteed to stop within ⅛" of its programmed level so each shade is always perfectly in line. While the projected energy savings for ESB retrofit are impressive, more impressive still is the ease of installing the wireless set-up. It literally takes just 12 seconds to program a sensor and its corresponding switch. More switches can be synced to the same sensor, adding a mere six seconds apiece to the installation time. Because rewiring is difficult and labor intensive, especially in buildings over eighty years old, Lutron's easy to install wireless system minimizes disturbance in retrofits. Wireless lighting technology streamlines construction on new projects, too, and cuts the cost of materials (no wires or pipes) and labor overall. While Anthony Malkin is in high spirits about the energy savings of Lutron's "state-of-the-art, cost-effective and architecturally beautiful" system in terms of the savings it will bring to his own properties, he seemed genuinely excited about what it could mean for the future of building in general. "If we only succeed at the Empire State Building" he said, "we have failed." See Lutron's collection and find out why their innovative products "save the nation nearly 10 billion kWh of electricity, or approximately $1 billion in utility costs, per year."

San Francisco’s Bay Bridge Set to Sparkle with Massive Lighting Display

Video rendering of the Bay Lights (courtesy TBL)  “What if the West Span [of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge] wasn't a bridge and instead were a canvas?” asked Ben Davis, founder of creative agency Words Pictures Ideas and man behind the The Bay Lights (TBL) some time ago. That question soon became the foundation for San Francisco’s latest high-tech public art project that’s got even Silicon Valley abuzz. With the support of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and major Silicon Valley bigwigs, TBL is planning to put up an ethereal light show 1.5 miles wide and 230 feet high covering the west span of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. “The Bay Bridge slipped into her sexy sister's shadow and silently slogged for nearly 75 years. With her diamond anniversary upon us, I wanted to give the gray lady a moment to sparkle again,” said Davis. Developed by American artist Leo Villareal, the installation, targeted to start at the end of this year, definitely won't lack sparkle. The project comprises 25,000 individually programmable LED lights set to produce abstract patterns inspired by the bridge's surroundings. When finished, the two-year light show will be seven times the scale of the Eiffel Tower’s 100th anniversary lighting display. Not to worry though, motorists, no need for sunglasses while driving at night; Davis said the LEDs will be set one foot apart and “placed on the outside of the two-and-a-quarter inch vertical suspension cables, facing away from drivers,” effectively making them invisible to the bridge’s commuters. But before the Golden Gate gets its silvery sister, TBL needs to raise $1.8 million by July 1. The project has already raised $5.2 million in gifts and pledges thanks in part to a Tech Challenge it launched last May. High-tech investors include angel investor Ron Conway, tech investor Adam Gross, and Wordpress Founder Matt Mullenweg. If you want to add to the pot, support the project on Causes.
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Remembering 911: Tending to a Tribute in Light

Perched on the rooftop of a parking garage in Lower Manhattan a few blocks from the World Trade Center site, two groups of 44 light cannons pointing skyward will soon project high-intensity beams of light into the night sky for Tribute in Light, marking the tenth anniversary of the 911 World Trade Center attacks. Last week, as a crew of 30 workers was positioning the lights and laying cable to a large generator on the sidewalk, we stopped by to learn more what's involved with the massive display. Presented every year by the Municipal Arts Society, the display will shoot skyward at dusk on Sunday, September 11 and run through the night. Tribute in Light was initially conceived by three independent groups of architects and designers who each had a similar idea at the same time. Lighting designer Paul Marantz helped the groups merge their ideas into one viable lighting display, finding common ground between the three designs. "Light cannons," spotlights about 18-inches in diameter supported in metal frames, are arranged in square rings representing the footprints of the Twin Towers and staggered for optimum light density. Michael Ahern who is producing the display said the staggered pattern gives depth to the 48 foot by 48 foot squares. Once powered up, each of the 7,000-watt xenon searchlights will merge to form a beam of light that shoots four miles into the sky and is visible for 60 miles around. Ahern said such high-intensity lighting displays are rare, but noted that iconic beam shooting from the top of The Luxor casino in Las Vegas also projects light skyward in a similar fashion. Before the lights can be turned on, technicians must align each cannon so the entire array points in exactly the same direction to avoid the scattering of light. Spotters are dispatched to New Jersey, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Uptown Manhattan to make sure the lights come together as a single beam. This labor-intensive process can take up to eight days. Once the switch is flipped, the display takes about five minutes to reach full intensity. Ahern said standing on the roof watching the lights is "beyond awesome...looking up , it really is genuinely amazing." He compared the experience to standing in a cathedral of light. The beams emit a slight blue hue, the same color as daylight, according to Ahern. With this many lights drawing so much electricity, Tribute in Light is not cheap. Combined with a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Municipal Arts Society has funded the $500,000 show out of its operating budget, but now that the grant money has run out, funding for future years is in jeopardy. The MAS is now seeking to establish an endowment and to find a permanent location to keep the lights running for years to come. The group has launched a fundraising campaign with a goal of several million dollars. Donations can be made directly to MAS at their web site or by calling 212.935.2075 or an immediate $10 donation can be made by texting the word TRIBUTE to 20222.
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QUICK CLICKS> Bike Lite, Convenient Cities, London Smog, Choco-design

Safer at night. Two design students at Carnegie Mellon University created a functional and graceful lighting system for bikers that enhances side visibility at night.  The LED lights that line the wheel rims, are powered by pedaling and change colors depending on speed. Bloggers at Greater Greater Washington have posted a video of the lights in action. Convenient Cities. What makes a city "convenient"? According to a study published by The Street, factors include walkability, public transportation, and amenity proximity.  Their city ranking, using data from Walk Score, Zillow and APTA, put Boston, New York, Denver, Portland, and Chicago at the top. Olympic Pollution. A documentary by filmmaker Faisal Abdu'Allah, Double Pendulum, examines the harmful effects of pollution on East London residents and athletes, The Guardian says. Abdu'Allah cautions that poor air quality in East London may threaten athletes' performances in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Designer Chocolates. PSFK reports that researchers in a joint program between the University of Exeter, the University of Brunel, and Delam, a software developer, have created a printer that turns 3D CAD designs into ready-made chocolates. An upcoming retail site will allow the public to upload original designs.
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ICFF Walkabout> Foscarini Evolution

Italian lighting design firm Foscarini filled their Greene Street showroom with a dynamic, winding installation called Foscarini Evolution during ICFF week in New York. Artist Marc Sadler composed the installation of individual Tress lamps--made of resin-coated fabric strips--connected end to end. The pulsing red strands created a distinctly interactive experience. "The installation shows how light can convey emotion and form space," said Veronica Carniello of Foscarini. The showroom will now undergo a renovation and open again at the end of the year. Carniello said the company plans to feature rotating installations featuring Foscarini lighting products so the showroom will take on the qualities of an art gallery.
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ICFF Walkabout: Spirits Flying High by Ingo Maurer

The scene at Ingo Maurer was a tad more subdued than the rest of Green Street last Monday night. Could it be because Maurer's work has a such tactile quality that the space feels more like an art gallery? Showroom hoppers didn't make an immediate bee line to the bar. How could you when the first thing you see  on entering is the arresting vision of "Spirits Flying High".  The undulating sheet of light looks a flying carpet about to blow out the door. On closer inspection the 87 inch by 50 inch hanging light fixture is composed of more than 100 LED strips wrapped in a warm milky colored silicon. Don't ask, the special commission piece is not for sale.
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ICFF Walkabout> Zaha Hadid′s Genesy Lamp

Genesy held court in its own VIP area at Artemide’s Monday evening cocktail party. Posed behind red velvet ropes, the floor lamp’s sensuous lines appeared anthropomorphic, with a waist as svelte as that of any Hollywood starlet. Designed by Zaha Hadid, the injection molded polyurethane lamp--featuring direct LED light and indirect (halogen or fluorescent) light--is newly available in the US in polished black or polished white.  
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A Thousand Drops of Light in Madison Square Park

Upon first stumbling across this massive array of 2,000 LED lights encased in standard light bulbs in Madison Square Park a few weeks ago, I thought holiday decoration had come a little early to the Flatiron's front yard, but as shadowed figures began moving across the field of light, it became apparent that this installation by artist Jim Campbell was something special. Situated on Madison Square Park's Oval Lawn, Scattered Light consists of a three-dimensional grid of light spanning roughly 80 feet by 16 feet and standing 20 feet tall. When viewing the installation from the front, programmed LED lights flicker in sequence to create the illusion of shadows walking through the park. Moving around the artwork causes the image to blue and abstract as the grid moves in and out of focus. Scattered Light video by specialkrb / YT: Scattered Light video by Craig Dorety / Vimeo: The installation is one of three public art projects by Jim Campbell on display in Madison Square Park. Here's more information about the other two from the Madison Square Park Conservancy:
Broken Window, the second installation, will be situated near the main entrance to Madison Square Park at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue. An array of LEDs encased in a glass-brick wall (70”h x 70”w x 10”d) will create illuminated images that appear to glide across the glass plane, reflecting the movements of the city around them and echoing the aesthetic poetry of the Scattered Lightinstallation. Situated on the eastern lawn adjacent to Madison Avenue between 24th and 25th street, Voices in the Subway Station, the third installation, will feature LEDs encased in two dozen glass tablets (14” x 18” each) arrayed across the lawn at ground level. The light pulses emanating from each tablet will be rhythmically modulated to represent the voices of individual travelers as recorded in conversation on a subway platform, combining to create a visual symphony rendered in light.
Each of the three installations offers an abstracted experience drawn from the urban environment that's at once distant but right at home and it's worth an evening stroll through the park to experience them for yourself. The installations will be on display through February 2011. Interview with Jim Campbell from Switched: Voices in the Subway video by Craig Dorety / Vimeo: Broken Window video by lessthanrita / YT:
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Night Lights on the Schuylkill

An array of glowing orbs has descended on Philadelphia's Schuylkill River to interact with curious passers-by.  Light Drift, a temporary installation by Meejin Yoon and Eric Höweler of MY Studio, will pulse blue and green on land and just off shore through Sunday, October 17. Each glowing orb has been outfitted with LED lights and electronic devices that allow communication across the glowing system and engagement with onlookers.  Sensors on land detect a person's presence, changing the color of orbs floating in the river.  From the City of Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program:
"As viewers engage and occupy the orbs along the park, the grid of lights in the water becomes an index of the activities on land. Multiple viewers can create intersections of linear patterns, encouraging viewers to “play” with each other. These orbs bring the community together by providing gathering spaces for watching the river turn into a flickering constellation, creating new connections on the river’s edge. "Light Drift creates an atmosphere, a field of lights that transform in color and intensity based on the public interaction with it. The resting state of the field is a constant state of green. When a visitor approaches a land orb, the orb will start an “enticement mode” by pulsing between blue and green. If a visitor sits on the orb, the pulsing will transition to a blue state. The water orbs that align with the land orb will change colors at the same time, creating a linear extension of blue lights in the water. Because the orbs are arranged on a diagonal grid, the lines of lit orbs will form a series of intersecting lines in the field. The intersection of lines of lit orbs in the water will encourage different people interacting with the orbs to also interact with each other."
An opening reception takes place tonight at 6:30 on the Schuylkill Riverbank between Market and Chestnut Streets.  When the temporary installation wraps up Sunday, it could move to Boston's Charles River.  Ultimately the non-toxic PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) shells will be recycled. Look for more information about the Light Drift installation in next week's The Architect's Newspaper.
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Euro Bulb Ban Begins

Europe's ban on incandescent light bulbs went into effect today. A New York Times report filed yesterday from Brussels brought home the air of ambivalence that has accompanied the prohibition, relating tales of some Europeans jumping eagerly on the compact fluorescent (CFL) bandwagon, others racing out to stockpile the old bulbs before retailers run out, and still others wondering, "Why are we switching?" The european ban can be seen as a bellwether for a similar phasing out that will begin to take place here in the U.S. in 2012, which I wrote about in the editorial for our 2008 Lighting Issue. Just to recap, while there is no argument in terms of the energy savings that incandescent replacement technologies such as CFLs offer, they do come with their own problems: they cost more, come with embedded electronics, contain mercury, and, most important for designers, they do not render color as well. And, let's not forget, in certain places incandescent light bulbs' inefficiency is a boon.