Posts

Fukushima, the Continued Nightmare — Get Ready to Freak the F*ck Out

tepco-fukushima-daiichi

Some readers wonder why I find these kinds of stories important.  I normally don’t answer those kinds of emails because I cannot ever think of something to say that doesn’t typically start with what in the world makes you think the continued poisoning of our planet to make light is not somehow important?! so I usually just don’t answer back.

Ah, well.  Everyone has their priorities, right?

Check out this VICE News documentary on the current nightmare fuel taking place right now at Fukushima Daiici power plant in Japan.  Holy shit.

The Daily Lamp – Daikanyama Pendant Lamps from Thomas Bernstrand

Daikanyama_Pendant_Lamp_05

If you’ve ever seen anything else that Thomas Bernstrand has made, you’d notice the following passage from his website – a quote about Thomas Bernstrand by journalist Mark Isitt:

“Thomas Bernstrand’s objects are not meant to be placed on a pedestal. They are meant to be used. Yet not in the customary manner: not as one usually uses furniture and lamps and flowerpots and coat hangers and notice boards and towel hangers and ladders and everything else he has designed. But more… intensively… You should be able to swing from Thomas’ things. Dance on them. Dismantle them. Cause they can take it. They are made to use. All designers, of course, say they would never design something simply for the sake of design. But Thomas isn’t just talk. When he comes to work in the morning, unlocking the buckled iron door of his white-painted studio – what was once a bakery –and puts his feet up on the window table and looks out at the neighbouring pool hall, tattoo studio and Asia travel agent, his thoughts are not, “What should I design today? Should I design a chair?” But instead, “Should I design something to work in, relax in, bounce in or whatever?” He thinks in terms of verbs, rather than nouns. In actions, rather than typologies.

Meet the Daikanyama pendant lamp, displayed at this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair:

daikanyama-pendant-lamp-1

daikanyama-pendant-lamp-2

From the product page at Thomas’ website:

The Tokyo district of the same name inspired DAIKANYAMA; the pendant and cables create spatiality on a pleasant scale for both large and small areas. In zigzag, stricter or even slightly chaotic configurations between walls, ceilings and poles, with the electric cable running along the wire from one to the next. There are endless possibilities for this playful pendant with painted aluminium in standard colours: white, black, red, yellow and orange.Diameter 420 mm, height 300 mm. LED or 18W compact fluorescent.

daikanyama-pendant-lamp-3

I love how utilitarian these lamps are, but at the same time have a grace and civility that brings forth the real shape of the design.  It’s a true form and function piece, I quite like it!  These pieces were manufactured by Bla Station – and obviously debuted at the Fair:

daikanyama-pendant-lamp-4

daikanyama-pendant-lamp-5

All images from Thomas Bernstrand’s website, all rights are his.

WOW: Work It, Tron Dancers!

Japan, I love you. You’ve done it again.

The Wrecking Crew Orchestra performs a jaw dropping dance performance inspired by TRON. I love their use of cueing and the effects they can create using only intensity parameters and their bodies! CHECK IT OUT!

This is the full length version of a piece seen in the Sony Experia smartphone ad:

There Has Never Been a Better Time to Stop Using Non-Renewables, Ever

This is going to seem like a ramble, and I’m okay with that, but I think that something needs to be said. It’s time that we stop depending on the Middle East and despotic regimes like Libya for the oil we use to light our world. While we’re at it, we should also convert from using coal and natural gas to forms of energy that we’re not going to run out of to forms of energy that are essentially good forever. I mean, really – when solar power runs out, we’ve bigger problems to worry about then, don’t we.

Doesn’t this seem like such a no-brainer? Switching from a fuel that is going to run out to a fuel that will never run out?

In my perfect Utopian world that obviously only exists in my head, we harness solar fully in just three states, wind in just two states, tidal and wave on the coasts, and provide the necessary gear for people to very easily use solar and wind at home. I’m a lighting designer, and I imagine a world where every touring production travels with a truck that has a solar and battery setup to self-sustain the show’s power needs. Wouldn’t that be just awesome and amazing?

Those kind of systems exist now. Yep, that’s no bull.

You know what the really sick and creepy thing about all of this energy generation business is? We actually CAN do exactly what exists in my head. We have the technology, desire, and ability to turn our power from coal and oil to wind, solar, geothermal, and tidal, among other forms. But, as we live in a country (and on a planet) that is so addicted to non-renewables like oil and coal, a change like this can only come if we demand it. All of us. Together.

When a place like Libya undergoes a revolt like is experiencing now, everything goes to sh*t around the world. Gas prices skyrocket. Everything costs more because the price of oil goes nuts. I just heard on NPR a few days that a barrel of oil just hit $100 bucks on the market. It’s not expected to get much cheaper any time soon, either. How can we continue to keep doing this, folks? It’s not just our gas that’s going to continue to climb honed and higher, it’s going to be everything in our lives – electricity bills, heating and cooling costs, light and lighting, food, clothing, all of it.

Something that we cannot overlook now is the danger of nuclear power.  Our brothers and sisters in Japan are experiencing the repercussions of the dangers of nuclear power for light after this last unprecedented earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  Have you been watching the news about the fires happening at the Fukushima Daiishi and Daini plants outside Tokyo right now?  Wider protection zones are being requested and considered by high ranking officials around the nuclear power plants in Tokyo, we’re haring news about meltdowns, radioactive fallout, and radiation sickness dangers.  It’s not a secret that nuclear power plants are powerful – but if you compare the bi-products and danger considerations versus those for renewable energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, and wave, is the danger really that worth it?

When the earthquake and tsunami first hit, the stock market was all a buzz about how solar stocks would triumph in this moment of our time.  Now the same people are saying that oil, coal, and gas are making big leaps and bounds because of the earthquake.  How screwed up is it that people spend more time trying to profit from a disaster like the one that just happened and is growing ever stronger and worse, day by day?  Why aren’t we trying to get solar and wind power in there now to help people out?

Think of the amount of energy needed to harvest pretty much every single non-renewable – oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear fuel – each of these methods requires several multiples of the energy actually gained just to make it in the first place.  Renewable energy sources require nearly no extra energy (or carbon footprint).  Why is this so hard for everyone to understand?

We cannot afford to rely on these non-renewables for our light any longer. We just cannot afford to be petroleum slaves anymore.  Our technological development in light is moving in the wrong direction when we base it on what coal, oil, and nuclear power are dictating.

There are so many advancements in solar technology happening right now, as well as with wind, geothermal, tidal, and wave power generation that it is staggering to think we’re not completely utilizing these sustainable sources of power. We are destroying our home with the mining of oil, coal, and natural gas.  Fracking, for example (fracture drilling for you Battlestar Galactica fans), has been proven to cause earthquakes.  Spent nuclear fuel (and live nuclear fuel for that matter) is so dangerous to humans that it must be buried deep underground to keep it away from us.  We have got to knock this stuff off and get involved in having a home that will be around for a long time. At our current rate, we are absolutely screwed.

Over the last few years as politicians have been lobbied by the CFL and LED manufacturers, we as lighting designers have all gotten our underwear in a bunch over being told we can’t use incandescents.  What sucks about that is that yes, it would be awesome to have a replacement for incandescent sources so that our light sources don’t draw a lot of power.  Well, my frank opinion is that if we were able to generate new electricity nearly free of cost, who cares what light sources we use?  Should we keep developing?  Of course.  Should we keep looking for an incandescent replacement?  Of course we should.  We should also work on improving our current power grid so that we have better distribution of power – it would stun your mind how many places across the country (and world for that matter) are operating on an industry-birth set of infrastructure that is as old as the industry is itself.  How much sense does that make?

Of course, what do I know – I only spend 8-12 hours a day looking at the advancement of light in our society.  I know we can do better, we just have to do it.  I want the best for us!  Most of all, I want us to start thinking sustainably – we’re not gonna make it if we don’t.  That is, of course, just my educated opinion.  But again, what do I know?

Yantouch Jellyfish Lamp

It’s been a while since I posted about cool lamps, hasn’t it…

My wife sent me this lamp actually, from a colleague of hers at RD2 – meet the Yantouch Jellyfish:

This lamp seems to be mainly an ambiance lamp – a color changing LED source illuminates the inside, and the rear of the fixture has one “tentacle thing” that keeps the lamp tilted up.  You can either have the top of the lamp on, the underside of the lamp on, or both together from what I have read about the lamp.  The user can choose the color  saturation and intensity, have a random speed random color roll, or just have it sit pretty on the table.  In a way, it reminds me of Willem van der Sluis‘ design for the Philips Living Color lamp.

The Yantouch Jellyfish is the brainchild of Hsiao-pin Lin and Ken Ouyang.  Interesting piece!

yantouch-overview

yantouch-tokyo

yantouch_jellyfish_legs

yantouch_jellyfish_lamp_off

yantouch_jellyfish_lamp

yantouch_jellyfish_lamp_flipped

You have to check out the Yantouch Jellyfish website too – they have a color picker interface that shows some light emanating from the rear of the lamp:

yantouch-website

Thanks Robbie and TechnaBob!

Panasonic Says 19 Years on Their EverLED Lamp

everled4

Stories of Panasonic’s new EverLED lamp are making their way around the intarwebs in the last week – in October (the 21st to be specific), Japan will see the release of Panasonic’s new line of household LED incandescent replacement lamps.  Panasonic is selling this new LED source as one that will last 19 years if used an average of about five and a half hours a day.  One one hand, awesome!  On the other, will there be a department to substantiate fraud claims if this doesn’t work?  And how on earth have they tested this claim?  I’m no rocket surgeon, but is this all based on mathematical estimate?

First, what does an average of five hours a day equal?  It means about 40,000 lamp hours.  Take that how you will.  40,000 hours is 40,000 hours no matter how you spin it.  But – when you claim 19 years on an average of five and a half hours a day, what happens when you run the lamp constantly for 500 hour stints at a time – or even 72 hour runs on average?

Don’t worry, I’m not poo-pooing Panasonic’s EverLED lamp.  I’m actually excited to see it in action.  We’re testing one of EternaLEDs’ HydraLux-4s in our apartment for testing, and it’s doing great, and provides a good light.  I’m a lighting designer – I am critical AND loving!

The Panasonic EverLED has some interesting efficacy numbers – keep in mind that these numbers are without a luminaire – just the lamp on its own:

  • The LDa7D-A1 model, equal in output to a 40W incandescent, has an efficacy of 82.6 lm/W
  • The LDA4D-A1 model, equal in output to a 30W incandescent, has an efficacy of 85 lm/W

These numbers are very good – they basically make the EverLED models about 40 times more efficient than an incandescent lamp (a rough number is about 12 lm/W for a 40W incandescent).  But what do you think the number one issue keeping consumers away from LED lamps is currently?

If you guessed price, you’re right on the money.  The EverLED is going to cost about $40 bucks (or 4,000 yen), and at this time is only available in Japan.  Similar LED lamps are upwards of the same price range.  When you can buy a pack of incandescent lamps for under two dollars, what’s giving the low-income families incentive to buy something that costs the same as a tank of gas?

Check out some images, and the press release from CompoundSemi:

everled5

everled3

everled2

From CompoundSemi:

September 10, 2009… Osaka, Japan–Panasonic Corporation, a leader in electronics technology and innovation, today unveiled bulb-shaped LED (light-emitting diode) lamps, the latest addition to its EVERLEDS LED lighting products. The new line-up consisting of eight types of bulbs offers the industry’s most energy-efficient(1), lightest(2) and smallest LED bulbs(3). They also include the industry’s first compact type LED bulbs(4) and dimmable lamps. By offering a variety of energy-saving, long-lasting, environmentally-friendly LED lamps, Panasonic encourages consumers to replace traditional incandescent lamps to address climate-change issues.

The new line-up includes 4.0 W (LDA4L-A1 and LDA4D-A1), 6.9 W (LDA7L-A1 and LDA7D-A1) and 7.6 W (LDA8L-A1/D and LDA8D-A1/D) standard type (E26 base) LED bulbs and 5.5 W (LDA6L-E17-A1/D and LDA6D-E17-A1/D) compact type (E17 base) LED bulbs. Available in “Daylight” and warm “Lamp” colors, they will go on sale in Japan on October 21.

The new products use Panasonic’s own heat dissipation technology to increase the bulb’s energy-efficiency. Generally speaking, LED’s luminous efficiency increases as temperature decreases. So it is important to lower and optimize the temperature of an LED package to achieve higher luminous efficiency. By applying alumite treatment to the surface, Panasonic successfully increased heat dissipation to lower the temperate of the LED package.

Combining this technology with the design which tightly joins the LED package and the casing, the company has achieved the industry’s highest energy efficiency in LED bulbs(1).

Also, when used as a downlight, the 6.9 W standard type LED bulbs deliver the brightness equivalent to 60 W incandescent bulbs5). That means it can save up to 2,000 yen per year on energy bills. The 4.0 W standard and 5.5 W compact LED bulbs produce the output comparable to 40 W incandescents and the 7.6 W standard LED bulbs have the brightness of 60 W incandescents when used as a downlight(6).

Panasonic also made the new LED bulbs the lightest2) in the industry by making the casing thinner and reducing the amount of aluminum used in the product. The standard size E26 base bulb weighs only 100 g and the compact size E17 base bulb weighs 50 g.

Further, Panasonic employed its own thermal analysis technology to optimize the heat dissipating configuration (heat sink) to create the most compact E26 base LED bulbs in terms of length and outer diameter. The new LED lamps, including the industry’s first E17 base LED bulbs, will easily fit into existing fixtures with which other replacement bulbs did not physically match.

The E26 base LED bulbs have a long lifespan of up to 40,000 hours. That means they last for about 19 years when used for 5.5 hours a day. The E17 base LED bulbs have about 20,000 hour life span. The new LED bulbs also feature a durable glass globe using glass manufacturing technology Panasonic accumulated over the years. They emit virtually no UV or IR radiation. The 7.6 W standard type and the 5.5 W compact type LED bulbs are dimmable from 10 percent to 100 percent.

Notes:

(1) The standard type LDA7D-A1 LED bulb, which produces the brightness equivalent to a 40 W incandescent lamp when used without fixtures, has luminous efficiency of 82.6 lm/W and standard type LDA4D-A1 LED bulb, which produces the brightness equivalent to a 30 W incandescent lamp when used without fixtures, has luminous efficiency of 85.0 lm/w, as of September 10, 2009.

(2) As a standard type LED bulb, as of September 10, 2009.
(3) In terms of length and outer diameter.
(4) As a compact type LED bulb (E17 base) which produces the brightness equivalent to a 25 W mini-krypton when used without fixtures.
(5) Direct lighting when used with the LB72630Z fixture by Panasonic Electric Works (PEW).
(6) Direct lighting when used with PEW’s LB72106 (4.0 W LED bulb), LB72630Z (7.6 W LED bulb) and LB74059 (5.5 W LED bulb) fixtures.

Thanks to CNet, Inhabitat, and CompoundSemi!

LED Magazine: Christmas Lights, and then some more Christmas Lights

LED Mag has an article about the various Christmas displays around the world (well, ok, a few of them), with a few pictures of the work.  I used to live in Columbus, OH, which is featured in the article – the Columbus Zoo has a display of LED Christmas lights – somewhere in the neighborhood of over 3 million LED’s – that they just recently switched over to ALL LED, saving $16,000 in energy costs, and providing better color (for those of us who care about that!).

Columbus Zoo

Columbus Zoo

One of the most impressive displays is located in Kuwana, Japan at the Nabano no Sato park.  4.5 million Christmas LEDs make up the display, and the images are marvelous!