lighting, retail lighting, urban

My shopping in the US

Men and shopping. I mean, literary, male shopping. Practical, coldblooded, calculated, ending up with last minute presents from a duty free. I had a firm plan fixed for my trip earlier this month; a plan as to what and where. When was left for a chance. The chance never come swallowed by an avalanche of this planet’s acclaimed largest tech convention.

Shrapnel pieces of time I have actually wandered inside a retail outlet end up on this page. Since this blog is not about fashion, neither it is a blog about hobbies, you will see mostly ceilings and some lights.

SHINOLA, SAN-FRANCISCO, CA. Tucked in a cosy street by the Transamerica pyramid, a Detroit life-style icon features plain wooden shelving and tin ceiling. Unfortunately I was not able to find out who the architect of the store was. Shinola’s New York store has been done by a NY practice Rockwell. They are famous for their stage sets. Do track mounted spotlights remind you of a stage too?

WARBY PARKER, SAN-FRANCISCO, CA. I found myself twice on the Hayes street, and hence claimed it mine. Really, if there would be a better location for an indy store, then it would be Hayes street. Eye ware maker, Warby Parker, store renders itself as if a web page suddenly comes alive. Light, white on blue murals (by an SF duo Lab Partners), Roll and Hill lighting fixtures inside and exceptionally good sales associates.

HOGWASH, SAN-FRANCISCO, CA. I remember I was meant to go somewhere else that evening, but 30 draft beer taps… While my companions enjoyed their sausages and sauerkraut at this restaurant near Union Square, I took photos and looked at the details. And boy, someone loved the details! Waffle patterns repeats on the globes too! Shoutout to the makers from Geremia Design.

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DRY GOODS SHOP, THOMASVILLE, GA. American craftsmanship is on the rise. I loved this bespoke set of luminaries in a small shop featuring leather aprons, tool sets, wallets and bitter milk mixers.

… and now unpack and try to readjust to Gulf Standard Time.

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controls, 照明, Data, IoT, lighting, urban

Street Lighting as a Network

 

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THE VERY IDEA OF A SMART CITY is amassing data from an urban multifaceted tissue and use it for the benefit of a community. Smart City is no longer a concept, it is a reality realised to varying degrees across the planet. A town on the foot of the Ural mountains might not have advanced building management systems, although its citizens would fully enjoy state of the art transportation app. Penetration of smart technologies interaction between a city dweller and a city manager has different depth and it is happening.

Advancement of telecommunication, internet and computing technologies and its symbiosis with manufacturing, services, logistics is driven in a greatest degree by a private sector. Vendors and providers better each other in giving consumer the most lucrative piece of tech, and communities get filled in with devices, solutions, apps and things that organise their lives, move them around and protect them.

There is another stream that moves in the opposite direction to this wave of technology in cities, a wave that has its aim to govern and unify the wild dance of private tech. There is no doubt, when these two streams meet, a pool of properly governed city technology shall emerge.

One of the steps of this sort is a British Standards company, BSI Group, report published in 2015 City Data Survey Report has defined main data sets, which over thirty cities that took part in the survey, found critical for functioning of a smart city.

There are fourteen data sets, of which the most important are social, infrastructure and energy. We shall focus on energy on this page, however today’s technology wipes off categorisation in managing a city, and energy alone appears to be too short sighted, as its impact on social and infrastructure or, say, geospatial development, is too significant.

Chart for Networked Lighting

Traditionally one of the largest contributors to a city energy spend is a street lighting. Number of lamps and their furniture is measured in thousands even in a small size community. You have your roads, your streets, your alleys and car parks. For decades architects and urban planners vocalised how good street lighting affects citizens’ wellbeing and feeling for security, and when light emitting diodes emerged, engineers have thought up of a new function for a city lighting. If each diode is a semiconductor then data transmission is possible. An aha moment that many a computer geeks experienced in early 80s: there are two computers and a modem. Machines can talk to each other!

There it started back in the second decade of the second millennium. Lighting seized being solely lighting anymore, it became a medium. Industry was disrupted, and all conversations today are about connectivity. Industry fairs look more like IT symposiums. Yet what is it for a city in connecting lights?

When a city manager steps out on the road to seek for an answer to this question, he or she would find not even a crossroad, but a noodle multilevel interchange of choices, standards, protocols and even consequences.

These are just a handful of services connected lighting can offer:

  1. Control and operational monitoring. Switching lights on and off, or conditional dimming (based on the time of day, natural illuminance or presence of dwellers) are prime functions in this category, but there is also a possibility to monitor power usage in real time and tracking status of the fixture.
  2. Asset management including almost all operating characteristics. Simply put, maintenance crew would be informed of the symptoms of potential failure before the luminaire fails.
  3. Metering. Apparently this feature is the least popular amongst some authorities. With all benefits of real time metering of energy use, there are still nay-sayers who doubt that this measurement is accurate. Advocates of the approach site that a luminaire that switches on when its built-in sensor detects daylight has reached a threshold and turns on the light source, consumes much less energy than the luminaire that is programmed to switch on at seven pm sharp. Communities that use LED lighting may also benefit from the special tariffs calculated for this type of light source as opposed to a conventional one.
  4. Security. Gunshot detection and triangulation. Acoustic sensors carried by the luminaire shall detect and signal law enforcement professionals exact location of an accident. Another basic feature is CCTV monitoring. There are fixtures already that incorporate a sleek camera that no longer spoils aesthetics of a fixture. Chemical and radiation detection is possible too.
  5. Footfall and traffic detection, a feature that urban management shall find useful, as well as retailers and property developers. One of the ways is to count…phones connected to a wireless network, although this data might not be fully accurate. We all know people who carry two phones on them.

Examples of connected lighting already exist. Majority are in the US (San Diego, Jacksonville and others). Glasgow boasts one of the most advanced systems in Europe. The city beats contenders by the fact that data from the networked lights are transmitted to their central operations centre.

When was the last time you had to plug in a cable to your laptop to go online? True, WiFi is everywhere. Although a city network goes beyond this. Market flourishes with choices: LoRa, Sigfox, LiFi and the fifth generation of mobile networks to name the few.

LiFi runs on light waves as opposed to radio waves used by WiFi and this makes the speed of data transmission incredibly fast. LED’s can be used as transmitters. LiFi has a lot of opponents as well as proponents and technology is developing very fast so that the results may be expected very soon.

5G is on the rise and telecoms are wiring their gears to spread the network in full steam.

LoRa today is considered one of the most secure, reliable and accessible formats for connecting Things into Internet. LoRa stands for Low Power Wide Area Network; it works on different frequencies of the free radio spectrum, which helps penetrate even in the underground locations.

PoE or Power over Ethernet is being explored by CISCO-Philips alliance. The European lighting leader has brought the way of energising and simultaneously controlling its lighting installation indoor. Ethernet today is capable of carrying 60W of power, which is enough for an office or a school yet still not there for an outdoor application.

Research and debates are underway which of this format prevails and communities should be included in the discussion: they will be the ones living with the chosen format of data and power transmission.

The point several degrees more important than the transmission is data. As with all on the internet: who shall own it? When you had your power grid, there was no options: energy authority would install, maintain and manage the assets. Today it is not so straight forward. What is of more value? Tangible furniture or data it gathers? The former depreciates over time, the latter gains value. The risk is that underfunded communities might agree to offers from providers and vendors to trade their citizens data in exchange of equipment. It takes a firm decision to ensure the data remains in the ownership of citizens and taxpayers, like it is done in Glasgow or Copenhagen.

This is not a search for the next villain, but an attempt to find possible ways and standards to govern, manage and utilise the gathered information. Judging by the functions street lighting can perform in a connected city, it is a lot of data. Public, as the main stakeholder, if not confident in the way data is operated, will unlikely approve civic initiatives and engage. Standardisation of data, communication technology and protocols may be able to facilitate the deployment and adoption of a smart city ideas.

If we get back to our multi talented street lighting concept: information, captured by sensors, flows into the central operation, but the media and formats are highly heterogeneous. There will be a need for this information to be normalised, occasionally translated, classified, stored, and eventually destroyed. Today vendors propose their own solutions to manage their piece of infrastructure. GE offers a platform it calls LightGrid, InteliLight has its own street light control software, Philips Lighting adds CityTouch, Acquity accompanies their lighting with various packages of their app called Roam.

I am only talking about lighting. Water will have their own, fire control will certainly use a software native to their equipment. All this is reminiscent of a boom of light planning applications in early 2000, when each manufacture developed their own stuff, and engineers and consultants would have to learn the intricacies of each package. Then Dialux and Relux came along and got everyone from misery. Thinking more widely: AutoCAD has become an ubiquitous standard for engineering community, and its evolution of Revvit that permitted an HVAC guy and a lighting guy work together in one environment independently from each other. “It is still not easy, says Murray Reynolds, CAD Manager of JWL, a large Australian contractor firm in Dubai, and it feels like you have just changed from a Cessna cockpit to Airbus 380.” Although the result is one engineering grid incorporating all vital systems. Similar approach from silos to homogeneous management of data is the future. Presently international standardisation bodies (CEN, CENEC, ETSI, ISO, IEC) are working on standards of interoperability, machine to machine communication, data security and protocols and even trying to unify terminology.

This foundation shall give confidence to city managers in the technical specification, processes and overall strategy of smart city services and equipment. As a consequence, standardised approach to processing and storing the data, shall become the very benefit for a community, that smart city is designed to achieve.

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architecture, places, toronto, urban

ROM for Royal Ontario Museum

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TORONTO, CANADA. ROM aka Lee-Chin Crystal designed by Daniel Libeskind in collaboration with the Toronto-based bureau Bregman + Hamann does not look like anything connected to natural history and world cultures! Well, the jagged geometry is kinda reminiscent of a gem stone as it is said to have been inspired of… but in its very deconstructive way.

Looks like the new structure of the museum has erupted from the ground and torn the bricked old building of the museum hosting the expositions before – and the interior continues to play with the contrasts and conflicts between the old and the new.

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Inside, because of the complex geometry, there appeared quite a number of voids serving different purposes and further exploring the Old VS New topic: an atrium, a hall for ruminating and the most unique light well that we have ever seen!
With 25% of the aluminium-clad surface being glazed, there are floods of natural light in the exhibition halls. Slit-like windows, a signature Libeskind stylistics, are reiterated in the slits and rows of luminaires. Alice in the Land of Illusions, that’s how you catch yourself feeling from time to time yet you are not lost at all. Architectural magic? The lighting definitely navigates you throughout this delusive space. Paradoxically enough, lighting with its non-tangible nature is something you can hold on to here, in the surreal Royal Ontario Museum.
Mind-deconstructive!
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Originally Posted on Lightintelligence.blogspot.com by Vasilina Valo Aug 6 2010
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architecture, dubai, lighting, places, urban

Can You Hear It Ticking?

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DUBAI, UAE. Rolex tower undoubtedly stands out of the fence of tall buildings populated Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road. Not only its ruled geometry but effect on a daylight and moonlit landscape that impress.
Pass it at noon, and the zenith Sun twinkles you across the sequence of opaque and transparent glass panels. Stop by after sunset and hundreds of sparkles flow down a colossal coal.

Brilliantly engineered and performed, LED strips hidden in the panels of glass flash controlled by DMX protocol, as if connected to a meticulous watch mechanism. And it is the noise of the Sheikh Zayed, otherwise you would hear it ticking.
Originally posted on Lightintelligence.blogspot.com Aug 15 2010
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places, saintpetersburg, urban

Five Stores of DeLight

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LOFT PROJECT ETAGI, St Petersburg, Russia
Conceptual. Loft. Design. Young. Smart. Concentrating on what’s vital and leaving out what’s not. Sounds Russian? To us, now, yes! That’s probably one of the coolest places in StPete and in Russia (OK, there are SOME places that pretend to be cool… but there’s too much PR noise around and too much money invested and too many expensive things inside… not really our thing!).
The former bread factory in the downtown, Loft Project Etagi now hosts 5 levels of galleries, a designer store, a bookstore, a cafe, a bar and a hostel. The interior design combines old partially broken tiles, trampled out staires and old industrial luminaires with the furniture of Charles and Ray Eames and Magis, solid wooden floors and contemporary materials.
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The canteen/cafe called Green Room is a space lit by daylight coming from big windows (also there’s a terrace) so green spotlights with green barndoors are just adding to this ambient lighting effect. The same spotlights are used throughout the place together with fluo tubes and suspended luminaires. Effect lighting is created by a bunch of incandescent lamps and…
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.. some decorative chandeliers (the Backstage boutique selling Russian and Baltic designers, I’m the regular! 🙂
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To top it all literally, the LoftWineBar with wine (no surprise!) and designer luminaires over the bar counter as well as white pendants and white floor lamps – note also the fittings in the floor levels used decoratively and for orientation during movie nights. One of our favourite places in the city!
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The White Hall gallery space on the ground floor was all occupied by big cages with dogs and cats waiting for their new owners – a charity event organized by Etagi – and we could not very well focus on the lighting… when those eyes were looking at us… we’d take them all!!!
Also above right – one of the galleries in place of a former storage, with low ceiling height so the fluo tube rows are just enough for lighting it up.
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The staires are left unchanged and decorated with the help of posters of the forthcoming events, orientation signs and old fluo tubes mounted either vertically or horizontally.
For dessert, the room that shocked me: the toilet walls are made of semi-opaque and semi-transparent thin plastic which you can encounter in green houses. So you can actually see through it! And the scarce lighting provides more than enough visibility… Please turn off the light! 🙂 🙂
Originally posted by Vasilina Valo on Lightintelligence.blogspot.com Aug 23 2009
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