May 032011

Artist Leo Villareal creates light sculptures and site installations that form dazzling displays across the world.  Shown below: Diagonal Grid, A site-specific installation at a music house in Istanbul, Turkey and Multiverse, A permanent installation in Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art.

Villareal designs software to control the lights. Sequences of imagery and changes in intensity create captivating works of art. As Villareal explains, “These are devices that can take you places with a group of people in an open-ended way.”

I was reading about this artist this morning and came across a charming fact. Villareal designed an installation for his own New York West SoHo loft. It’s a night light for his six-year-old son in the form of a floor-to-ceiling sculpture. Or, as his son calls it, “one of Daddy’s blinkies.”

Apr 052011

A New York Times article recently described a trend in wedding planning involving a focus on lighting design.  The couple featured in the article hired a lighting company to project a personalized “logo” onto the dance floor and onto the bride’s gown during the reception.

There’s certainly no question that wedding budgets can range from shoestring to extravagant.  The most expensive wedding to date cost $60 million, according to Forbes Magazine.  It was the union of Vanisha Mittal (daughter of billionaire Lakshmi Mittal) and investment banker Amit Bhatia back in 2004.  Just to give you an idea: The six-day celebration was held on a 17th-century French chateau, invitations were sent out in a 20 page book made of silver, and the wine tab came out to $1.5 million.

Now, back to lighting design.  Do you think it deserves a prominent place in the average wedding budget (which was approximately $24,070 in 2010)?

Continue reading »

Mar 072011

An “LED constellation chandelier”. Image via Inhabitat.

Lighting designer James Bedell wrote an insightful blog post last weekend that I wanted to share here. His point was that the discussion around LEDs today seems to be all centered around the “science” of the source rather than the “art” of it.

It’s probably true.  With the upcoming legislation changes mandating new lighting efficiency standards, it’s easy to focus on how LEDs can replace incandescent bulbs and fail to mention the other implications of this amazing technology.

LEDs are incredible because they do not require you to light up a room using a bulb: With LEDs, lighting can take all sorts of shapes and sizes. We no longer need to conform light fixtures to accommodate a bulky bulb, and that opens up the window to endless design possibilities.  I talked a little about this in my post IKEA & the End of the Incandescent Light Bulb.

Sure, LEDs are available in the shape of traditional bulbs. This is simply to ease the transition into more energy-efficient lighting, and to provide products to fit into the fixtures we already have.

Let’s start thinking about lighting as art again… we have a tremendous opportunity. James Bedell

This is an exciting time for the lighting industry. In the next decade, the way we light our homes and businesses is likely to change drastically.  Let’s see where LEDs take us!

Feb 092011

This “Turning Torso” building in Sweden is the European Union’s tallest residential apartment building.  Its unique architecture features curving corridors inside the building and an equally distinctive exterior design.

What’s really impressive about this building is its lighting plan.  Architects designed a custom LED system that was integrated into the building’s round interior, which was quite a challenge.  Narrow, flexible LED modules were fitted into pre-made custom fixtures and then recessed into the ceiling.

The Turning Torso is included in the New York Museum of Art’s 25 Most Exciting Skyscrapers in the World exhibit.  Check out this article in LEDs Magazine for more details on the innovative lighting design.

 Posted by on February 9, 2011 at 10:06 am
Jan 252011

Back in October, I wrote a post announcing that the first OLED manufacturing plant was coming to the US.  Quick recap: OLED stands for organic light emitting diode (it’s an LED that contains carbon).  It’s an extremely innovative technology because it can be produced in ultra-thin sheets, so it will make things like light-emitting wallpaper possible in the future.

Well, here’s another amazing application of OLEDs.  Intel has created a laptop with an OLED keyboard!  Depending on what you are viewing on the computer screen, the displays on the keyboard buttons change.  If you’re playing a game, the letters of the alphabet will disappear and the keyboard will show controller functions.  Check out the video after the break and tell me what you think! Continue reading »

 Posted by on January 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm
Jan 122011

It’s a basic biological concept: environmental cues have a significant effect on behavior.

Companies use the concept to their advantage all the time.  Red, yellow and orange make us feel hungry, so fast food restaurants incorporate those colors into all their branding.  Wide, open entrances make a building seem more alluring, so retailers design stores with glass frontages and seamless entries.

The thing is, you have some control over some of your environmental cues.  Why not use them to your advantage to help support that New Year’s Resolution to shed a few pounds?

Take a look at the lighting in your kitchen to determine whether it’s helping or hindering your goals. Continue reading »

 Posted by on January 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm
Dec 212010

1. The Chandelier Made from Pens:

At first glance, this may look like a standard chandelier.  Look closer.  It’s actually constructed from 347 recycled Bic Cristal pens and 347 paper clips.  Talk about what you wouldn’t expect a light to be made of!  This one has got to be in the same category as the chandelier made from 3000 ping pong balls.

2. Better Defined as “Sculpture”:

This piece of light art was designed by Marcus Tremonto.  Its super-thin structure cascades from the ceiling to create a truly stunning effect.  Check out more of Tremonto’s work, you won’t be disappointed.  He blends style and function in a captivating way that makes you think twice about convention.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on December 21, 2010 at 10:13 am
Nov 242010

1. Under Cabinet Lighting:

Often cited as a top remodeling project in terms of high return on investment, installing under cabinet lights is always a great decision.  It provides task lighting to make cooking and cleaning easier and accent lighting to highlight a beautiful backsplash or countertop.  At night, the glow from an under cabinet light is particularly alluring.  Check out our post on How to Choose Under Cabinet Lighting.

2. Energy Efficient Lighting:

Everyone loves lowering their monthly energy bill.  Whether you’re switching out those old incandescent bulbs for CFLs, trying super-efficient LED cabinet lighting, or using fluorescent light fixtures for a closet or display case, energy efficiency is the way to go.  Besides, today’s incandescent bulbs will no longer be available for sale in the US by 2014 due to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  Go green! Continue reading »

 Posted by on November 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm
Oct 182010

The famous Prague Astronomical Clock recently celebrated its 600th birthday by putting on quite possibly the coolest light show in history.  We found the video on Gizmodo and had to share it here.  Apparently, it took four months to create the show.

The clock is known as Prague Orloj and is mounted on the wall of the city hall in Old Town Square.  It dates back to the early 1400s and has over 20 functions, displaying things like the lunar phase, time of sunrise/sunset, and zodiac phase.

This is a can’t-miss video: Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 18, 2010 at 10:00 am
Oct 122010

Track lights are one of the most versatile lighting systems because the individual fixtures can be positioned anywhere along the track and then swiveled, rotated, and aimed in any direction.  It’s possible to create a variety of different effects, and you can tailor the lights to best accentuate your room.

However, this also means it’s hard to know where to start!  Consider this your how-to guide for using track lights to create the perfect effect.

First, you’ll need to decide what type of light you want the track fixtures to provide.  Track lights are typically used in one of three ways:

  • Accent lighting, highlighting a particular object such as a work of art.
  • Wall washing, evenly illuminating a wall.  Should be used for non-textured vertical surfaces.
  • Wall grazing, dramatically highlighting the texture in a wall.  Should be used for textured vertical surfaces like brick, stone, or draperies.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

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