Moodwall, Amsterdam

The video above is a project called the Moodwall – an interactive LED installation by the Urban Alliance collective.  The Moodwall is an Amsterdam marvel, adding light and security (and entertainment) to the tunnel where it resided.  The “urban wallpaper” of sorts is made from about 2500 LEDs behind a translucent poly wall of some sort.

The tunnel’s screen is stretched out horizontally so that the images are better viewed from the side, and outside the tunnel, which makes people want to view it from the outside, and also prevents the tunnel from becoming a loitering spot (at least in theory).

Urban Alliance is a collaboration of designers and developers – Studio Klink which does architecture and design; Illuminate, specializing in interactive lighting and video content; and Cube Architects that specializes in building design and development.

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Thanks, Yatzer!

An Indian Company’s Solar Lamp the Poor Can’t Afford

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An Indian company has released a solar-powered LED lamp that retains about six hours of energy – the lamp’s purpose is to provide an answer to the power outages and lack of electricity that plagues poor students.  There’s also a lack of proper illumination – a combination of both of these is apparently something that has been frustrating educators in the region for many years.

The StudyLite, created together with Sankara Nethralaya University hospital to provide the proper levels of illumination for the eye, is rechargeable – it also comes with a solar panel that can be used to charge the unit.  The StudyLite is powered by a NiMH battery, and has 24 LEDs that provide the illumination.  It’s about $33 bucks, but given that the figure of a monthly income in Indian is $41 bucks, do you see the problem?

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Thanks, Wired!

Smart Switch: Another Light Switch Incarnation

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Imagine a light switch that gives you feedback when you flip it on – providing some resistance to your mindless flick as you walk into a room.  I could see another great idea being a smart-alec refrigerator that makes sarcastic comments when you go looking for that ham sandwich in the middle of the night, too.

The Smart Switch doesn’t prevent you from turning on a light, it just gives some resistance to your action during times when peak energy consumption is happening in your home.  An interesting idea – it’s geared to making you more aware of your actions with respect to energy consumption.

From the Greener Gadgets Competition page:

SmartSwitch doesn’t restrict the user from turning on a light, but rather it passively encourages behavior change. SmartSwitches can be programmed to respond to either personal or communal electrical usage. In a home wired with SmartSwitches, lights can become harder to turn on during hours of peak demand. The switches can also be customized to reflect household-specific energy conservation goals.

The two Stanford students who developed this idea, Peter Russo and Brendan Wypich, commented on its usage at PSFK:

It’s important to note that the SmartSwitch doesn’t restrict you from turning on a light. Rather, mindless habits like flipping on a light when it’s not really needed are slightly disrupted — hence why we consider it to be a “nudge”. It helps you to make an informed decision, while not telling you what to do. We also believe that the key to stimulating behavior change is to change the context in which a person looks at energy. The SmartSwitch does this by connecting together multiple users — across a building, a neighborhood, or even a town or a state. By changing the notion of electrical power from private ownership to shared responsibility, you feel part of a larger cause.

We believe that providing in-the-moment feedback will help you make smarter decisions around your energy usage. The smarter the users, the smarter the grid.

If you like this idea, vote for it!  The competition closes on February 27, so don’t waste time!

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Thanks, PSFK, Nudge, and Core77!

Sylvania’s EcoLight – Water Powered!

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I mentioned water powered lighting regarding the project going on in Ireland a few days ago, but it’s nothing like this!  Sylvania has produced (and is selling) a water-powered LED fixture for the shower that indicates water temperature.  It attaches to the shower spout, and water flowing through the unit powers it.  When the water is 78° or below, it indicates blue – and above 105° indicates with red.

Pretty cool!

Check out the Sylvania LED Ecolight Water Powered Shower Light, Amazon is selling it.

Visa Lighting and Fringe

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I love that show Fringe – my wife and I watch and enjoy it, as it’s in the same vein as the X-Files, but not really at all.  It’s its own animal – but a very enjoyable show.  It’s also got some very excellent production design, utilizing some very beautiful lighting fixtures like Pablo Designs’ Brazo LED Lamp, which can be seen on what seems like every FBI agent’s desk, and in Broyles’ office.

Silvercup Studios is shooting Fringe at its stages – I found out that Silvercup Studios just bought some fixtures from Visa Lighting in Milwaukee, WI for upcoming scenes in the situation room and in one of the hallways on the show.

Visa Lighting in Milwaukee, WI has a TON of really beautiful works; specifically purchased from Visa Lighting by Silvercup were the Plana CB6372 and the Plana CB6374.  Check out these images:

The PLANA CB6372:

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The Plana CB6374:

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Visa Lighting didn’t pay me do write this post – nor do I work for Visa Lighting.  However, they have some very awesome stuff, and you should definitely check out their catalogue!  They’re cool enough to get spec’ed for Fringe, so they’ve gotta have some game!  The Plana, the Colonnade, and the Sash families of their products are among some of my favorites.

Banning the Incandescent Lamp – IALD’s Position

Incandescent lamps (you know, light bulbs?) are in the crosshairs of the Banning Wizard across the world.  I really made that sound worse that the principle of it actually might be; of course being a lighting designer I like the quality of the incandescent sources, and I know what the trade-offs are, and I respect them.

The International Association of Lighting Designers – the IALD – has a taken a position on this.  I’ve listed their key points below, but please visit their website on the topic, here.

IALD’s position:

  • There is presently no lighting technology that can replace certain types and uses of incandescent lamps. There are still drawbacks such as poor color, bad dimming performance, and high cost, that make replacement technologies ineffective replacements for incandescent in some applications. A grace period is needed to allow the development of light sources that can replace incandescent in all applications.
  • Energy-efficient replacement light sources must be adapted to suit the existing electrical infrastructure. Those with simple and clear-cut applications must be made available as soon as proven, but there will be cases in which an efficient source is not ready for a particular use. When products cannot achieve appropriate goals, continuance of incandescent technology specific to those situations should be permitted.
  • The complete environmental impact and life-cycle carbon footprint of each replacement technology must be understood. Incandescent lamps should not be banned until their replacements are proven to be an overall environmental improvement.
  • Replacement lamps must be cost-effective. Because replacement light sources are often more expensive than incandescent sources, conversion cost is a concern. Subsidies may be needed to help low-income consumers.
  • Phasing-out of inefficient light sources is one step in reducing lighting energy use. The most efficient electric light source is the one that is turned off. Effective use of daylight and aggressive use of lighting control technologies will be needed to significantly reduce lighting energy use.
  • The IALD supports all efforts to reduce electric lighting’s negative environmental impacts through careful design, daylighting integration, lighting controls and more efficient sources. We urge consideration of the full ramifications of proposed regulations, and possibly the continued use of some unique types of incandescent lamps until truly better alternatives are available. Through our design choices and expertise, IALD Lighting Designers have an opportunity and an obligation to make a great contribution to energy use reduction and global CO2 goals. We are fully prepared to offer our technical and design expertise to help reduce the negative environmental impact of lighting while producing quality lighting solutions for effective working and living.

How do you feel about incandescent lamps?  Please post your opinions in the comments!

Jean Luc Le Deun’s LED Pieces

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Jean Luc Le Deun was featured in a post at Yatzer’s blog.  Jean Luc is a luminaire designer who seems to work with big shapes and LEDs, exclusively.  His work is very interesting – the kind of work you would put in a room to feature.

Jean Luc Le Deun was interviewed by Yatzer’s Design Blog – I highly recommend checking it out.

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Thanks, Yatzer!

Sha-Do Play – One of the Coolest Things I Have Seen Lately

I have a tendency to like textured light; light on its own is filtered through clouds, trees, window dressings – and it creates its own natural “texture” for us to enjoy.  I love templates (or gobos, as they’re affectionately called) of texture, and they make a nice natural break to the line of a wall or surface.  Love ‘em.

A company called Sha-Do released a few series of lamps that really play on this concept – a projector of sorts, these fixtures cast a great textured template on the surface on which it’s mounted.  Sha-Do has designed a lot of really beautiful shapes for their projections, and I am a huge fan.  I wish I had one of these!  I have a large white wall directly across from my desk at home, and I have a spot can shooting up the middle to break the monotony.  One of Sha-Do’s lamps would be so much better!

Check out a few of these fixtures, this stuff is beautiful – these are from the sha-do2 line:

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From the original sha-do line, which all seem to be round:

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The virus line:

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All of these lines are amazing – and I have not covered them all.  Check out their website – http://sha-do.com – and view all of their work.  Beautiful!

The Revio Light Switch

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It’s funny – how many times have you been coursing through the Lowes or Home Depot looking for a light switch and thought to yourself, “boy, the to0ggle light switch is such a boring device!  I think it’s time for a redesign!” I’ve not done that to date, and I have used/seen/programmed/installed some very interesting lighting controls in my life.

That doesn’t make it wrong to redesign the light switch, though!

A company called First Hand Design has redesigned the light switch, giving it some pizazz and differing usability.  Their switch, the Revio, is a programmable, customizeable device that looks very, very slick – sexy, even – and I can find eleven places in my house where these would look just great.  (Wink, wink, First Hand)

From the website about the Revio:

Extensive customer research has been the driver to develop instantly recognisable, simple, intuitive controls, for the first time user.

The natural layout guides the user to simply press the on/off button or touch the surface of the panel to select the scene or zone they want to control, making it completely intuitive to navigate. Twisting the rotary knob raises or lowers the light levels accordingly. The start point for the design was the premise “if an instruction or guide note is needed then the design has failed”.

A company that took usability and simplicity into account when designing a product?  What?

From Yanko’s post about the Revio:

- Multiple configurations and re-programming for light settings are possible with it.
– The rotary bezel has a tactile click and a soft rubber grip.
– A ‘clean’ switch when pressed allows the panel to be cleaned without changing light levels.
– Since all the parts of the panel are separate, repairing, replacing or recycling of any individual component is possible without fuss.
– Backlit touch sensitive scene buttons.
– The pre-set programs of lightings are energy efficient.
– Choice of icons (including photographic images) and text language is included in the design.

This is a very interesting design!  What do you think?

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Thanks, Yanko!

Michael Marcovici’s Slide Lamps

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These lamps are great – but then again, I love projected textures and layered light.  Michael Marcovici’s Slide Lamps are light sources with 35mm slides fastened together as shades.  The light itself is nice, albeit lower intensity; what I love about these is the treatment they give to the surrounding walls and ceiling.

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Check out Michael’s other works on his portfolio site.  There’s some great stuff there.

Thanks, Make!