Tony Awards for Lighting Design in 2010 – Some Detail On the Designers

I have to admit that apparently since I didn’t watch the Tony Awards last night, I am apparently a bad theatre person.  Or so I’m told.  You see, I’m actually lighting a show and making a paycheck right now, so I didn’t have a chance to sit and watch the Tony Awards show.  Did you watch, or are you baaaad like me?

The big lighting design awards last night were Best Lighting Design for a Play, and Best Lighting Design for a Musical.  In the PLAY category, the Tony was awarded to Neil Austin for Red by John Logan; in the MUSICAL category, the Tony was awarded to Kevin Adams for American Idiot by Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day and Michael Mayer.

Best Lighting Design for a Play: Red (Golden Theatre) by John Logan, lighting design by Neil Austin

Neil Austin – the LD behind the show:

Production images of Red:

(All images from Johan Persson, from the Neil Austin website)

About Red (from the Tony Award website):

Master American expressionist Mark Rothko (Alfred Molina) has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art. But when his young assistant (Eddie Redmayne) gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing. John Logan’s play is a searing portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.

Producers: Arielle Tepper Madover, Stephanie P. McClelland, Matthew Byam Shaw, Neal Street, Fox Theatricals, Ruth Hendel/Barbara Whitman, Philip Hagemann/Murray Rosenthal, The Donmar Warehouse

The images from the show are amazing.  From a few people who emailed me today to tell me about the show, it was also apparently equally amazing, and Austin’s work is stellar.

Best Lighting Design for a Musical: American Idiot (Berkeley Rep) by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, Lighting Design by Kevin Adams

Kevin Adams, LD behind American Idiot:

Production images from American Idiot, from Kevin Adams’ website:

From the Tony Awards website about American Idiot:

American Idiot tells the exhilarating story of a new generation of young Americans as they struggle to find meaning in a post-9/11 world, in a journey borne along by songs of the band Green Day. The musical follows working-class characters from the suburbs to the city to the Middle East, as they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration. The cast of 19 is led by past Tony Award-winner John Gallagher, Jr.

Producers: Tom Hulce & Ira Pittelman, Ruth and Steven Hendel, Vivek J. Tiwary and Gary Kaplan, Aged in Wood and Burnt Umber, Scott Delman, Latitude Link, HOP Theatricals and Jeffrey Finn, Larry Welk, Bensinger Filerman and Moellenberg Taylor, Allan S. Gordon/Élan V. McAllister, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Awaken Entertainment, John Pinckard and John Domo

You’ve probably heard of Kevin Adams, if not Neil Austin too.  Kevin Adams got some press on last year for his design for Passing Strange (which has become one of my favorite designs ever).  I ran across an article in Live Design that asked Kevin five questions – this was my favorite two – students and people wanting to break into the lighting design industry, pay attention:

Live Design:  What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Kevin Adams:  I was never really interested in a “career,” so I never really asked for career advice. I realized early on that employment as a freelancer was always going to be up and down, so I’ve tried to make every day less about working and more about making things that, at the end of the day, satisfy me. And if other people respond to the work I make, then great.

Live Design:  And what’s the worst?

Kevin Adams: Probably telling myself that a “career” doesn’t matter.

Amazing.  I hope this gives a little bit of insight into the Best Lighting Design category of the Tony Awards.  It is so important to me that people know more than just who won the award!

Happy Birthday, James Clerk Maxwell!

Hey, is that James Clerk Maxwell?  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, James Clerk Maxwell (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879)!

There’s just something about the people like James Clerk Maxwell and their crazy beards.  It’s like a birds’ nest for your chin!

So, Jimmy Max here is a pretty important dude.  James was a theoretical mathematician and physicist – If you’ve ever heard of or practiced the modern electromagnetic theory, you have heard of James Clerk Maxwell.  Many people consider James as important as Albert Einstein and Michael Faraday – besides his big ol’ brain, I’m jealous of his amazing chin coiffure.  GO BEARDS!

Jimmy Max’s life was quite interesting.  He was home schooled by his mother, he got tired of his toys when he was 6 or 7 and started playing with reflecting plates of metal and studied frogs’ life cycles, and unfortunately his mom died after an operation when he was 8.  James was raised by his dad and sister-in-law Jane, educated by an unknown 16-year old boy who treated James like a bother.  Since James was raised on his father’s country estate in solitude most of the time after his mother’s death, his school experiences were apparently harsh and full of ridicule.  James was more intelligent than his teachers and fellow students, which also probably didn’t help things much.

James’ scientific career began pretty early.  From Wikipedia:

Maxwell was fascinated by geometry at an early age, rediscovering the regular polyhedron before any formal instruction. Much of his talent went unnoticed however, and, despite winning the school’s scripture biography prize in his second year, his academic work remained unremarkable, until, at the age of 13, he won the school’s mathematical medal, and first prizes for English and poetry.

For his first scientific work, at the age of only 14, Maxwell wrote a paper describing a mechanical means of drawing mathematical curves with a piece of twine, and the properties of ellipses and curves with more than two foci. His work, “Oval Curves”, was presented to the Royal Society of Edinburgh byJames Forbes, professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh University, Maxwell deemed too young for the task. The work was not entirely original,Descartes having examined the properties of such multifocal curves in the seventeenth century, though Maxwell had simplified their construction.

In addition to, you know, developing the theory of electromagnetism, James Clerk Maxwell developed some other pretty interesting scientific developments.  From above, his work with geometry and multi-focal curves lead to developments in optics and color vision.  One area that I found particularly interesting was his work with photographic images and color.  A photograph of a tartan ribbon was taken three times with the first single-lens reflex (SLR) camera developed by Thomas Sutton, each photograph with a different color filter placed in front of the lens – red, blue, and green.  Then, by projecting each of these colored images on top of one another with three separate projectors, James created a full-color image.  Check it out:

Another pretty interesting development that James brought about was the Maxwell Disc.  James’s color wheel disc was very similar to James Forbes’ spinning color discs – you know, the ones that have three colors on them, and when you spin the disc, the color appears as a single color?  James Maxwell’s color disc had three very tuned colors (vermillion red, emerald green, and ultramarine blue).  This is a very simple explanation of Jimmy Max’s color wheel top – however, his work helped to develop the 1931 CIE color space.  He had his hands in all kinds of stuff!

Maxwell, as a young pup, with his color wheel:

Maxwell’s Color Triangle – look familiar?

Maxwell’s Equations and Electromagnetism

James Clerk Maxwell developed the theory of electromagnetism, and Maxwell’s Equations are the basis of this theory:

Classical Electromagnetism, which is these four laws plus Lorentz’ Law (the law that can be applied to make a current-carrying object levitate between two magnetic fields), is what James Clerk Maxwell is credited with developing.  Of course others helped in this work, but Maxwell is credited with the bulk of the development.

Have you seen these laws?  They are freaking beautiful, especially if you like math like me:

Or, if you like humor:

One last thing – our man James was a poet!  He wrote all kinds of poetry, but my favorite was his mathematical poetry.  Here’s one for the road:

Energies through the ether flow,
Waves travel to and fro,
And with a ratio
Their speed you measure.
Colours yield their secret hue,
And Saturn’s rings subdued by you
Suggest that gases
Might be measured too.

Science you freed
From cramping mechanistic creed,
And by your theory brought
The elastic solid ether to naught,
And changed the axiomatic basis
Of scientific thought.

Oh Maxwell! How can I declaim
On such a genius, such a fame,
And speak of one so very wise
Who saw the world through splendid eyes,
And though of such a subtle mind
Was yet so humorous and kind?
Yours was a mind unique and rare
That, nurtured in a northern air,
Struck out new paths in many ways
Through all too short, yet fruitful days.
How can one capture in a line
Something so great, so pure, so fine?

Give thanks,
That such a man drew breath,
And lament with all the world
His early death.

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Max!

Thanks Wikipedia, St. Andrews, and Sonnet Software!

The Live Design Excellence Awards – Voting is Open!

Live Design Online is hosting the 2010 Live Design Excellence Awards, as in previous years.  The award governs a selection of genres of individual design, and voters have been given an array of projects on which to vote.  The Live Design Online website has information on each of these projects – check them out before you vote!  I think I know people on at least half of these projects – which makes my vote even more difficult!

From Live Design Online’s Excellence Awards website (which is where you need to go to vote!):

The following pages contain the nominees for outstanding individual achievement in design for projects occurring from September 2008 to October 2009. These awards represent an opportunity for industry professionals to be recognized among their peers.

One winning project will be chosen in each of the following categories; please select one project in each category below. Winners will be featured in the May issue of Live Design and will be honored at the Broadway Master Classes that same month.

Grand Opening Of Atlantis
Pretend City’s Children’s Museum

Exile Perfect Live 2008 Tour
Essence Awards 2009

Corporate Event:
Rolex Mentor And Protégé Gala At Hamlyn Hall Royal Opera House
Two Millennia Of Heroism

Live for Broadcast:
Junior Eurovision Song Contest
Grant Park Election Night Rally

Theatre Production:
Swan Lake At San Francisco Ballet
Rooms, A Rock Romance

Venues (Club or Lounge):
Freight & Salvage
Blaze Nightclub On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Of The Seas

Venues (Theatre or Performance):
The Joint By Rouge
Jerome Robbins Theatre At Baryshnikov Arts Center

Check out last year’s Excellence Awards winners – some amazing works!


Honey, where’s my car ke-OMG, IS THAT THOMAS ALVA EDISON?  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Thomas Alva Edison!  DUDE!  It’s the “Wizard of Menlo Park!!!”

(actually Tommy’s birthday was yesterday, but I had a gig and I was gone all day so don’t say anything) TOMMAAAAAY!

So, those of you who know Tommy A. Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) probably know him for, um, INVENTING THE LIGHT BULB and all.  Tommy Boy and Joseph Swan actually battled it out death-match style on the invention of the light bulb (we all know who it really was), but it turned out that Mr. Edison here was the better businessman and capitalist.  I mean, look at that face – doesn’t it just scream “you can make all the rules you want, I will make money in spite of them” on his face?

Tommy Edison was actually quite the inventor.  He started out as a telegraph operator (apparently termed “brass pounder”) and persevered through some tough times financially to become the holder of almost 1100 patents.  The motion picture camera, the “quadruplex” telegraph, the carbon microphone (in the first telephones) and, among many others, a patent for the “carbonized bamboo” filament.  Joseph Swan was the first actual inventor of the electric lamp, but Edison’s design and research actually turned out a better, more efficient version.  Edison’s bamboo filament was said to burn for over 1,200 hours.  That’s more than some lamps I’ve bought at the store this year!

Big Tom Edison’s also accredited for the invention and design of the phonograph – the “record” player, for any of you crazy kids who don’t actually know what this is.  (I wanted to cry when a young student in Arlington, TX asked me “what this thing is” while holding a turntable in her arms)

Check out a video of Edison reciting his first recording, a voicing of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” in 1927:

Also, another very, very hip video is Edison talking about his invention, the “electric light bulb” and its development:

One thing that Thomas Edison did that is essential to our development as a technically adept species was to implement and develop a mass-production system for industrial operations.  That bit of knowledge he imparted to the industrial trades is revolutionary.  He is also credited with creating the first industrial research laboratory, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.  This place had a little bit of everything – Edison wanted to store some of “almost every conceivable material” in this place so that he and his people could invent freely with no inhibitions.  The Menlo Park facility took two city blocks to house.  Holy geekfest – that must have been almost as awesome as the Mythbusters Studios!

Edison’s Menlo Park lab:

To be fair, there are a couple of pretty un-awesome things that Edison did that are noteworthy, one of which led to the development of the electric chair.  George Westinghouse was one of Edison’s competitors, and probably most well known for alternating current.  Edison and Westinghouse had a pretty fierce and nasty battle over whose invention was better – direct current (Edison) or alternating current (Westinghouse).  In the “War of Currents” that ensued, Tom Edison was so persistent on proving that Westinghouse’s AC was unsafe (regardless of the fact that it was actually better than his DC for long-distance distribution).  Edison and his people publicly electrocuted animals to show that AC essentially killed them quickly.  Yeah, Tommy, that wasn’t very cool of you, dude.  One notable execution was Topsy the Elephant – a Coney Island attraction that killed three abusive handlers over the course of three years.  Edison filmed this event – I didn’t feel good about embedding it in this post, so here’s a link to it, via a post about Topsy the Elephant.  That video on the site is not terribly graphic or anything, but it’s freaky in its own right.  I’d kill somebody that was abusing me like they did you, Topsy.

Topsy was electrocuted with a 6,600VAC source.  Maybe AC triumphed over DC in the long run because of some bad karma Thomas brought on with his war on alternating current.

Thomas Edison was attributed with the following quote, which kinda cracks me up after reading the above research:

The dove is my emblem…. I want to save and advance human life, not destroy it…. I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill…

So, enough pointing out a man’s flaws on his birthday – thanks for all of the good things you did, Thomas Alva Edison!  Just a few more things we can thank Tommy Boy here for (a non-exhaustive list):

  • the fluoroscope (an x-ray that takes radioscopic images)
  • the stock ticker (well, okay, but really who needs that?)
  • the Lackawanna Railroad’s electric trains (Hoboken to Gladstone, Montclair, and Dover, NJ)
  • Edison General Electric
  • the printing telegraph
  • Typewriting machines (and all kinds of associated parts and pieces)
  • the magnetic ore separator
  • brakes for electromagnetic motors
  • a patent for preserving fruit
  • governors for electric motors
  • the telephone (and other related stuff)
  • the arc lamp
  • a gold extracting process from sulphide ores (random…)
  • wireless telegraphy

Thanks Tommy!  If you ever come back to life, I’m buying the first beer.  If you come back to life as a zombie, I ain’t promising nothing.

Just as something to watch that explains a little more about Edison’s involvement with the Electric Chair, here’s a copy of The Pinky Show – “Thomas Edison Hates Cats.”  There is a tiny clip of Topsy’s execution in there, so just be warned.  The video is, however, presented by a talking cat:

Thanks, Wikipedia, Worldwide School, and Thomas Edison!

ETC Wins A PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation for the Selador Line!


Electronic Theatre Controls, maker of the Source Four line of luminaires and the Ion, Eos, Congo, and Express lines of control consoles, won a PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation at this year’s conference for the Selador line of LED fixtures.  Congratulations, ETC!

The press release from the ETC newsroom:

Lighting, dimming and controls manufacturer ETC is celebrating after winning a coveted Innovation Award for the Selador LED range of fixtures at this year’s PLASA.

The award judges congratulated the ETC Selador fixtures for “taking a significant step towards the ultimate goal of energy efficient incandescent replacement lighting.” They continued by pointing out that “ETC has developed this LED fixture with a colour output that gets close to the spectral curve of traditional incandescent source, thereby making LED technology a step closer to wider use in theatres and similar applications.”

Outside of the awards, the PLASA show was, says ETC’s Promotions & Advertising Manager for Europe, Rosi Marx, a complete success, with product specialists giving demonstrations throughout the four days. “Although visitor numbers seemed to be down, in general we had a very busy stand,” she adds.

The Selador demonstrations weren’t the only ones grabbing visitors’ attention: ETC’s Unison Mosaic architectural control system, SmartBar 2 portable dimming and Element lighting control console were all extremely popular.

Element is ETC’s newest lighting desk and is designed with smaller theatrical venues and schools in mind. This no-fuss system targets conventional lighting control in smaller venues. Perfect for student and volunteer staff, Element redefines the basics of lighting control. When conventional accessories, LED fixtures or moving lights are added to the rig, the press of a button accesses the On Demand ML Controls, giving direct control of complex devices via a mouse or touch screen.

I’m looking forward to what’s next with Selador!


WYSIWYG Wins A PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation!


Our beloved WYSIWYG won a PLASA Award for Innovation at Earl’s Court in London this last weekend – a well-deserved win for both Cast Lighting (and everyone who busts their rears there) and all of us WYSIWYG users.  WYSIWYG Release 24 has amazing real-time viz.  Amazing.  Render-quality amazing.  I am a fan after all, but I’ve used so many software suites over the years (from MiniCAD to Vectorworks to AutoCAD to SoftPlot to AGI32 to DiaLUX to Sketchup to you name it, I think I’ve used it), and as a lighting designer in no matter what genre of lighting, I still love my WYSIWYG.

From the PLASA Show website:

Cast Group of Companies, for the WYSIWYG R24. The plethora of LED display technology caused Cast to re-evaluate its design and visualisation software which has led to a significant redesign of the graphics engine and fixture attributes. It now allows the full visualisation of modern display technology including video and LED screens and their content.

From Entertainment Technology News:

From among 62 products entered, last night CAST Software walked away with a coveted PLASA09 Award for Innovation at Earls Court in London. The Award “recognises products which advance the industry by demonstrating a new style of thinking, improving technical practice, or taking a key step forward in terms of safety,” according to the Professional Lighting And Sound Association.

The Award was presented by Adam Afriyie MP, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Universities and Skills and was judged by a panel of eight independent judges drawn from across the industry. In making the Award, the judges explained: “the plethora of LED display technology caused CAST to re-evaluate its design and visualisation software which has led to a significant redesign of the graphics engine and fixture attributes. It now allows the full visualisation of modern display technology including video and LED screens and their content.”

Bruce Freeman, chairman of CAST Software and Gil Densham, president, accepted the Award at which time Freeman said, “WYSIWYG R24 is a total bottom-up rethink that delivers advances so revolutionary that they are ahead of the leading-edge! To assure that the system demands of the new features and visualisation in R24 are met with the same WYSIWYG speed and dependability, CAST designed and built a brand new proprietary engine. Now production professionals can model all the hottest new LED fixtures on a per diode basis and display them running in realtime. R24’s new visualisation incorporates the inverse square law feature and volumetric beams so WYSIWYG’s realtime Shaded View is really virtually real!”

Congratulations, Cast!

DTS Wins a PLASA 2009 Award for the XR300 Beam


I just got an email about this – luminaire company DTS out of Italy won the PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation at PLASA this year.  They were awarded the honor on Monday at a ceremony during the conference, which is still going on.  The award comes for their new fixture, the XR300 Beam, which is a 5 degree source.

I’ve been looking at the specs on this fixture, and it looks pretty interesting.  DTS is touting their FAR technology – “Free Axis Rotation” – meaning that the fixture will continuously pan and tilt.  Continuously pan and tilt.  I realize that this isn’t the first fixture on the market with this skill, but DTS has been producing some great stuff lately, and this fixture is worth mentioning.

The XR300 Beam provides 125,000 lux at five meters – that’s 125,000 lux at about 16.5 feet.  Not bad, eh?


Some specifications:

  • Exceptional light power (125.000 Lux at 5 metres)
  • The capacity to project a highly condensed and intense beam of light even over great distances, thanks to the high efficiency of the new optical group
  • Variety of colours (CMY synthesis + 7-colour wheel + CTO)
  • Customizable gobo wheel (7 rotating gobos)
  • Insertable frost filter (soft edge)
  • Unlimited Pan and Tilt movements (new FAR technology)
  • The XR300 BEAM is also the ideal light for a vast range of applications in which quiet operation is a priority, thanks to its silent ventilation system and silent pan/tilt operation.
  • Access to every feature of the internal menu is simple and direct, thanks to the new user interface featuring a LCD backlit graphic display (128 x 64).
  • The XR300 BEAM is also available without the “FAR” system.

Check out a video of the XR300 Beam continuously panning and tilting.  It is truly pretty awesome.

Gekko’s Keddo LED Fixture Wins at NAB 2009


Have you seen the Gekko LED fixtures?  They’re primarily marketed towards stage and screen, but they’re pretty awesome – they have self-monitoring to make sure that the illumination level coming from them is consistent.  That’s my favorite thing about them – they’re also pretty brilliant in their saturated colors.  PRG has exclusive distribution rights for their stuff, and the keddo fixture just won  two big awards at NAB this year.  The press release is below, please check it out.

Gekko kedoTM Wins Two Awards at NAB 2009

New Windsor, New York-May 4, 2009-Production Resource Group, LLC (PRG), the exclusive rental and sales distributor for Gekko Technology Ltd. products in North America, is pleased to announce that the Gekko kedoTM won two awards at the recent 2009 NAB tradeshow in Las Vegas. The just-launched Gekko kedo, a focusable luminaire powered by an LED source, won two awards-the DV magazine 2009 Black Diamond Award and TV Technology magazine’s Mario Award for Innovation. The Black Diamond Award recognizes the best products making their debut at the NAB show, specifically those that will appeal to video professionals. A select panel of engineers and editors, as well as production and post professionals joined the DV magazine staff to judge the Black Diamond Awards. The Mario Awards, named after Mario Orazio, a pseudonym for a nameless engineer who pens the industry’s most widely read technology column The Masked Engineer, in TV Technology, were established to recognize products that represent significant technical breakthroughs and companies that demonstrate forward thinking and technical excellence in their products. Both DV magazine and TV Technology are a part of NewBay Media’s Broadcast & Video Group of products.

“At NAB this year, PRG again enjoyed introducing new technology to the industry,” comments Brian Edwards, General Manager of PRG’s Los Angeles depot. “The enthusiastic response was terrific. As always, we work very hard to supply the film and broadcast industries with the tools and services that will help support their creative efforts. It is always particularly gratifying to get the opportunity to introduce products like the Gekko kedo or the Nila Lighting System and see them so immediately embraced. I think it is evidence that PRG continuously works to source new technology with a true understanding of these industries.”

In addition to the kedo, UK-based Gekko Technology also manufactures kisslite, lenslite, kicklite and george. The new kedo is a focusable spotlight equivalent in output to a 1kW Fresnel that is powered by Gekko’s kleer colourTM light engine. Kleer colour is the world’s first adjustable, focusable single source multi-color light engine. It uses a single-array of high-power LED that can be tuned under software control to produce a wide array of different color temperatures and colors. The LED array can be tuned locally or remotely via DMX. The kedo can produce an extensive range of different colors and a range of high quality whites allowing it to match any color required to illuminate a specific scene. In addition to primary and intermediate colors, kedo can precisely emulate a high quality tungsten reference source. It can be switched quickly and easily to produce 2,900K, 3,200K, 4,300K, 5,600K and 6,500K as well as a wide range of virtual color filters, all of which remain stable throughout dimming.

“The kleer colour light engine represents something of a ‘Holy Grail’ in the lighting world,” explains Gekko Technology’s founder and Managing Director David Amphlett. “Designed specifically for the needs of image capture, it gives lighting directors and camera crews unprecedented control of color temperature and illumination level. Unlike multi-source RGB color-mixing devices, kleer colour delivers a broad spectrum of light that can be adjusted by the operator to match a vast array of hues across the visible range. Self-monitoring sensors ensure stable color across a range of output levels as well as correcting changes in performance caused by ambient temperature and component ageing. In addition to its unsurpassed creative versatility, the kleer colour engine delivers far higher color rendering than any other lighting technology powered by discontinuous sources, across all operating temperatures and illumination levels.” The kleer colour system provides consistent color quality from lamp to lamp, with tight calibration and sophisticated closed loop feedback.

PRG has represented the Gekko Technology products-including kisslite, lenslite, kicklite and george-since February 2009 and has been very encouraged by the industry’s enthusiastic response. Gekko film credits include Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Death Defying Acts, Mama Mia, The Golden Compass and television dramas including Waking the Dead, New Tricks and The Commander. The kedo will no doubt be in great demand with cinematographers and lighting directors for their toolboxes.

For more information on the award-winning Gekko Technology kedo as well as the whole Gekko product line, please visit



Traxon’s Mesh RGB LED Wins a Red Dot Award


I took these shots at LDI 2008 of the Traxon booth – they’ve been in the news a bit lately winning awards and publishing case studies on their website.  I have a friend who was working on a project that employs some Traxon products, and had nothing but high praise for the company and the product.

Traxon also just won another Red Dot Design Award for one of their products – the Mesh RGB LED.  An article at LEDs Magazine commented on the Mesh RGB LED product:

Traxon Mesh RGB is a highly versatile, modular system of LED modules that provides the perfect all-purpose solution for challenging surfaces where unique, eye-catching decoration is desired. A low profile and easy mounting give the Traxon Mesh RGB a decisive advantage over conventional LED screens and products. Each Mesh unit comprises eight grid-elements, connected by flexible joints, giving it the ability to contour the most demanding surfaces.

One Mesh comprises five strings each with 32 high performance LEDs resulting in 160 individually controllable pixels per Mesh unit. The control possibilities range from DMX over DVI and its IP-67 rated UV-resistant material makes it suitable for a variety of outdoor applications. Furthermore the Mesh RGB can serve as a room divider by combining two units back to back with its refined and simple-to-use clipping system.

One of the innovations that Traxon has emplyed in their products, especially the modular products, is their TX Connect system of connecting all of their TX Smart devices together.  The system puts power and data in one cable.  When I first discovered Vari-Lite products I was always impressed by their employing of power and data in one cable with the series 200 and 300 stuff.  I am also impressed by Traxon’s TX Connect system.

I’ll be writing more about Traxon products in coming weeks – good stuff!


Thanks, LEDs Magazine!

Runners Up in the Metropolis Design Mag Competition

A little while ago I wrote the article about Civil Twilight and the Lunar Resonant Street Light, the winner of Metropolis Magazine’s Next Generation Award.  Metropolis had another article about the contest, displaying the runners up for this competition.  There were a solid number of light and lighting-centric ideas in this competition, and you need to see them!

Keep in mind that all the runners up had great projects – I’m showcasing the ones dealing with light as a medium.  See all of them here.

Alberto Villareal from San Francisco:

BrightWalk trainers let after-dark joggers put their expended energy to good use, lighting the way and alerting cars to their presence. Every time a sole strikes the ground, piezoelectric transducers convert the shock into electricity, which in turn stimulates electroluminescent polymers—low-heat-generating light sources—embedded in the shoe’s toe and heel. With a customizable upper, the sneaker allows sporty nocturnal types to exercise in safety and style. “This shoe introduces the concept of ‘empowered fashion,’” Villarreal says.

Boris von Bormann and Nik Hafermaas from Los Angeles

Von Bormann plans to brighten urban centers with his solar-powered light installations—a public-art project that he envisions as a poetic source of community pride. Initially conceived for the new “Innovation Corridor” in Pasadena, California, PowerSEEDs are decorative site-specific light sources that embed into pedestrian sidewalks or other sun-exposed surfaces. Individually controlled by programmable timing devices, they coordinate to create luminous displays. “You don’t need any wiring,” von Bormann explains. “You simply drop them in the ground.” As well as adding a lively touch to city landscapes, PowerSEEDs are meant to raise public awareness about renewable energy sources and blaze the trail for further positive innovations by demonstrating the possibilities of sustainable technologies. With the prototypes completed and plenty of ideas for future applications, von Bormann’s first installation is set to illuminate Pasadena streets at the end of the summer.

Eric Olsen from Ann Arbor, Michigan
Electro-Conductive Gypsum Wall Board

Olsen hopes his electro-conductive gypsum wallboard will eliminate the need for electric outlets altogether. By embedding flat-wire technology into low-cost fire-­resistant gypsum cladding, he’s created a working prototype for a conductive surface that could radically alter how we access electricity—we’d simply plug directly into an available piece of wall. Olsen believes that in addition to providing more flexibility in how we arrange our gadgets, his product can curb energy consumption by supplying electronics with only as much power as they need. His low-voltage wallboard eliminates the need for point-of-use transformers that reduce the current between the electrical source and the device. “Conventional wall outlets may be a thing of the past,” he says.

Jerad Tinnin from Wellington, New Zealand

Big ideas can come in small packages, as Tinnin dem­onstrates with this design for a diminutive LED desk lamp that monitors the energy consumption of its users. Tinnin understands that helping people visualize the environmental impact of their decisions is crucial for fostering energy-conscious consumers. Luminet connects to a computer, showing users not only their own contribution to greenhouse gas reduction and resource savings but the contributions of the entire Luminet community. As well as being an energy-efficient light source, the lamp has low embodied energy. To reduce the shipping burden, it comes in compact packaging, which when reversed becomes a prepaid parcel that can be mailed back for reuse or recycling. Users can even track the life cycle of their Luminet boxes online via their bar codes. “This product aims to represent a global community of conservation and thoughtfulness,” Tinnin says. “It’s a beautiful yet utilitarian desk light and a network of people making a simple change.”

All descriptions and images came from the Metropolis “Next Generation” website.  I wanted to give the lighting related folks a little love!