comfort, 照明, lighting, science, visual

If Light Is Not What You Expect

DUBAI, UAE. A question from a client has recently prompted to digg into a question why dimming LED does not feel like dimming conventional halogen spotlights. They have refurbished a restaurant and replaced spotlights with halogen lamps to LEDs. The effect did not impress: instead of warm ambience the client got pale dull environment.
The phenomenon of warmth in a dimmed halogen lamp is achieved through cooling down the tungsten filament. Less current passing through it gives out a redder spectrum of the light. Naturally we are expecting warmer hues from lesser light!
LED light source uses a different physical mechanism: electroluminescence. Halogen lamp is still incandescent in its nature. There is no major change in the color of the light when the current passes through an LED die. This change, in fact, is not discernible to the human eye. The color of light in an LED depends on the chemicals used to coat the LED die, and not on the thermal radiation.
Hope we have not yet lost you by the fourth passage. Because here is the good news:  the industry has a solution to offer. LED Engin from the USA has developed a light source which combines several dies driven separately which helps to imitate a shift from 3000K to 1800K (your incandescent lamp is 2700K, and your candle is 1700K).
Adopted from LEDs Magazine
Originally posted on in Nov 2013
alternative, energy, lighting, science

What If We Don’t Need a Cable to Transport Light

Rendering below shows SmartLight in action. Image courtesy of source site.

Rendering above shows SmartLight in action. Image courtesy of source site.

CINCINNATI, USA. A pair of scientists from the University of Cincinnati are convinced there is enough daylight for every room in every building. Their idea is to get rid of mediums in turning light into energy and the latter into light again. Anton Hafmann and Jason Heikenfield propose to channel light through the grid of electrofluidic cells, and then ‘poured’ down by demand above a certain area of the room. Each cell is only a few millimeters wide and contains fluid with high optical properties. Minimal electrical stimulation (cells are self-powered by sunlight; embedded phtotvoltaics are located by the windows) turns fluid into lenses shapes, and thus controls the light. According to Heikenfeld, professor of electrical engineering, the whole system ‘looks like a piece of glass that all of a sudden switches.”
Surely, this is the system for the Gulf.
Full article can be found on this website.
Originally posted on in November 2013
chemistry, effects, lighting, science

Excuse Me, Have I Just Drunk From a Red or Green Cup?

Photo courtesy of the source web-site

Photo courtesy of the source web-site

ROME, 4th Century A.C., an entertaining souvenir or a probe for royal poisons? This way or another, a Lycurgus cup remained a secret for scientist until the last decade of the 20th century. This chalice changes color: from green if lit from the front and scarlet if lit from behind. Craftsmen in Rome have grounded silver and gold till they got a nano-particle, a thousandth of a grain of a table salt!
Particles were then added to glass. Here is an explanation of Gang Logan Liu, an engineer of University of Illinois: “When hit with light, electrons belonging to the metal flecks vibrate in ways that alter the color depending on the observer’s position. When various fluids filled the cup, Liu suspected, they would change how the vibrating electrons in the glass interacted, and thus the color.”
Drinks, anyone?

Full article can be found on The Smithsonian Magazine website.

Originally posted on in November 2013

finland, friends, lighting, photography, suomi

53 Weeks of Sunlight

Pirjo Collage Slide1

53 pictures, 53 weeks, a bit more than one year…

Is it enough time to observe all the subtle movements of sunlight, all the shadow play, all the colour change as the season go by, from the crystal white of snow to the tasty green of spring to the peony fire of summer and the final fade away of autumn? We were plunged into the midst of this feast (we nicknamed it Light & Nature and then it developed into something that is hard to embrace and therefore hard to find a name that could possibly carry all the beauty, all the connotations of it) thanks to our co-author and contributor, our friend and a brilliant photographer Pirjo Lindfors.

Pirjo Collage Slide2

Week by week, every Sunday there appeared a post on our Facebook page with an image that had been taken by Pirjo when she had been on a photo-hunt somewhere out there in the oh-so-distant and oh-so-beautiful Finland. And everytime it was a complete and utter surprise!

Pirjo Collage Slide3

Paying homage to our friend with those small quick collages and wishing her all the best and her book to be published soon (we are queuing for the autograph 🙂

Kiitoksia paljon Pirjo!

Originally posted on in Oct 2011

architecture, places, toronto, urban

ROM for Royal Ontario Museum


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.

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.
Originally Posted on by Vasilina Valo Aug 6 2010
architecture, dubai, lighting, places, urban

Can You Hear It Ticking?

Rolex1 Rolex2

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 Aug 15 2010
places, saintpetersburg, urban

Five Stores of DeLight

Loft Etaji 1
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.
Loft Etaji 2
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…
Loft Etaji 3
.. some decorative chandeliers (the Backstage boutique selling Russian and Baltic designers, I’m the regular! 🙂
Loft Etaji 4
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!
Loft Etaji 5
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.
Loft Etaji 6
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 Aug 23 2009