Tag Archive: lighting technology and controls

  1. Thursday Salute to Originals: Time Slice Photos

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    Creating distinct renditions of our built environment both at specific moments and over periods of time, photography and timelapse video have a special place in the showcasing of architecture. Typically regarded as separate entities, still imagery and motion pictures document the world in completely different formats, each interpreting the subject and its facets in a unique manner.

    What happens when the defining elements of these two media – capturing a single, still moment vs. capturing a series of moments in motion – are combined? A visual hybrid is born, redefining our perception of architecture and the progression of time.


    Photos of building facades at sunset may seem like a dime a dozen, but the work of photographer Richard Silver is different. Silver’s “Time Slice Global” series depicts changing daylight at world famous landmarks, composed of slices taken at different points in the day and stitched together into a single image. Not only do the images show the shifting day to night patterns of the sky, but also how the architecture fluctuates over time; crowds gather or dissipate and internal lighting becomes more or less apparent depending on the position of the sun.





    In essence, Silver’s images present the experience of viewing both a still image and a timelapse video at once, a phenomenon he calls “altered visual context”. We salute Richard Silver for merging those two media into a new expression that can bend time and ultimately create a new lens through which to view our built environment.

    (And speaking of capturing moving moments…if you’re in the mood for time lapse in the traditional sense, try checking out the videos of our latest installs.)

    Image credits: Richard Silver

  2. Thursday Salute to Originals: Musical Swings

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    The GPI Design team is always interested in creative uses of LED panels, especially when paired with innovative lighting controls. This installation is no exception. The lighting accents in this art installation show that lighting, however understated, can change the experience of installations and artwork throughout the day, creating a welcoming glow in the evening and invigorating a streetscape.

    Swinging Musical Art Installation

    Musical Swings Streetscape Interventino Art Montreal

    Daily Tous Les Jours, a design collaborative in Montreal, Canada, produced ’21 balancires’ for the 2013 biennale international design fair in Sainte-Etienne. This public installation was available for use in the Quartier Des Spectacles, a high-traffic area in Montreal. Twenty-one swings trigger individual notes while in use and the installation is meant to “explore the notion of collaboration and the positive outcomes which can be a result of working together”, according to the designers.

    Musical Design Experience Swing Lights

    As users begin to swing in tandem, melodies occur according to which swings are in use and the rate at which users swing. As dusk approaches, the swings illuminate to heighten the sensory experience of its users. The ‘EmpathiCITY, making our city together’ exhibition “investigates the biennale’s theme of empathy… articulated through a series of urban interventions which turn the streets into a domain for democratic expression”, remarked an official.

    “The installation offers a fresh look a the idea of cooperation – the notion that we can achieve more together than alone.” — Tous Les Jours and Luc-Alain Giraldeau, a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal’s Science Faculty.

    Musical Swinging Playful Lighting Art Installation

    The motivation behind this wonderful installation is both emotional and inspiring. We would love to see a permanent installation like this somewhere in our area so that we could take “musical breaks”!

    Image credits: Design Boom

  3. Illuminated Resin and Wood Project Wins 3Form Award

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    What a nice way to end a busy week here at GPI- we received our 3form award trophy for our work at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco!

    3Form Best Public Space in Hospitality Award

    The backlit escalator walls at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco won the 3Form Best Public Space in Hospitality Award.  Designed by Indidesign and installed by the millworkers at Acosta & Sons, our Infuse™ LED Backlighting System was developed over many months and encompassed the surface characteristics, fastening details, and custom lighting controls.

    Backlit 3form and Wood Escalator Feature Walls

    It’s not surprising that Indidesign’s stunning renovation treatment swept this category – to refresh these narrow escalator runs, the designers strategically used the wall planes to bring light into this long space.  Indidesign’s description of the project:

    Fumed Eucalyptus panels with embedded horizontal strips of 3Form Varia Ecoresin clad these escalator walls. The design was conceived and developed by Indidesign that researched materials and lighting solutions in the effort to create a strong and dynamic connection between the two levels of the meeting venue and visually shorten the length of the descent. The Acosta & Sons team crafted the custom panels using 3Form resin flush with the wood without exposed fasteners. Indidesign researched numerous lighting options and selected GPI Design’s Infuse™ LED Backlighting System as the most appropriate to render the panels in even illumination.

    We are honored and rewarded to be a part of a great project team with stunning results. A big thank you to 3Form for sponsoring the contest and kudos on your lovely award design! If you’re around the Bay Area, be sure to pop into the Grand Hyatt and take a ride down the escalators!

  4. Glimpses of Our Process: Backlit Glass Floor Development

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    We’re working on illuminating a commercial lobby floor for a project in Perth, Australia.  To firm up our strategies, the specified glass panels were shipped to us so we could study their relationship to our backlighting. Creating even illumination for this highly translucent glass surface in a load bearing floor application presented a fun challenge for our team. Photographer and videographer Andrew Thames spent a few days with us capturing the process.

    Take a look at how we arrived at the final design – you’ll see hot spots and any distracting evidence of the light source slowly disappear.

  5. Thursday Salute to Originals: Bendable Electricty

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    Wind farms have begun to dominate off-shore sites and mountain ridges. In fact, wind power provided 26% of all new U.S. electric capacity last year. Wind turbines do have their drawbacks. Besides killing bats and birds by blade strikes and exploding their lungs with pressure differences, wind turbines can present significant engineering challenges and often mar the landscape. The New York-based design firm Atelier DNA has crafted a solution that avoids much of turbines’ pitfalls and adds a pleasing organic aesthetic.

    Called the “Windstalk” concept, this plan entails “planting” 180-foot high stalks that will flow and move with the wind much in the same manner as grasslands. Each carbon-fiber stalk sits in a concrete base and tapers from around twelve inches at the bottom to two inches at the top. Layers of piezoelectric ceramic alternate with layers of electrodes, generating electricity as the stalk bends and sways with the wind. The concrete bases in which the stalks sit also generate power with torque generators using shock absorbing cylinders.

    These stalks have a much higher density rating than wind turbines. In fact, closely packed stalks actually help power generation. Wind turbines require a large minimum distance between each other because of turbulence that lowers efficiency and can wear out parts much faster. Windstalks benefit from turbulence because chaotic airflows cause more, and stronger, swaying.

    A wind farm using these stalks has already been approved for Masdar City. This ultra-green community outside of Abu Dhabi will feature a 280,000 square foot area packed with Windstalks. Masdar City is home to one of GPI Design’s backlit glass features in its innovative transport system and we eagerly anticipate this revolutionary farm help light it. Also lit will be the top of each individual Windstalk. LED lights on the very tips will vary in brightness depending on wind strength, illuminating the night with beautiful moving points of light.

    Amazingly enough, the Windstalk concept also translates well to the aquatic environment. Called Wavestalk (obviously), these underwater electric generators will use waves and currents to power homes and businesses near the shore. Atelier DNA and its founding partner Darío Núñez-Ameni have truly achieved a synergy between human engineering and nature.

    Image credits: News.Discovery.com, Gizmag.com

  6. A Collapsed Roof Providing Mile-High Potential

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    For the past two years, when residents of Sydney have gone down to the park, they have literally travelled “down”. Wonderfully making use of an old water reservoir, the Australian firms TZC Architects and JMD Designs constructed Paddington Reservoir Gardens to make good use of a cave-in. The reservoir was originally constructed in the 1870s and provided some of the first water to Sydney residents before being closed down around 1900. Since then it has served as a garage and workshop for a municipal sewer agency, a service station, “open space” for the city council, and finally a commercial parking garage until a garden-covered section of roof on the western cistern collapsed in 1991.

    Not a city to suffer decrepit structures, the open air depression soon drew attention from civil planners as a way to bring shade and an interesting public space to the center of the city. The Gardens act as an area of repose with original brick, timber, and iron supporting a plethora of foliage and birds, even a fish pond, while the inner city above carries on with its hectic schedule. A surface-level park over the eastern basin covers an arched and lighted public meeting area beneath where the designers left dozens of interesting arches and artistic, decades-old graffiti. Taken together, the old cisterns with their plants and lighting bring to mind the way nature begins reclaiming ancient buildings like Roman aqueducts and ruins.

    JMD Designs and TZC Architects brilliantly utilized a decrepit space and transformed it into a community center piece. A superb place to relax by picnicking with friends, hold community events and concerts, or quietly read a book, the way modern and old construction frames interesting plants and animals won the Gardens Australia’s 2009 Award for Urban Design.

    Image credits: IndesignLive.com, SydneyArchitecture.com, HHT.net.au

  7. Dynamic Bridge Functions As Elevated Art

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    In dense metropolitan areas, traveling from building to building often involves lengthy rides down elevators, up elevators, and across traffic-laden city streets and sidewalks. The organizers for the Building to Building Pedestrian Bridge International Challenge in Montreal sought to inspire designers to originate ideas which would ease congestion, decrease travel times, and diversify the use of structures. The winning concept came from the architects from the Barcelona-based firm sanzpont [arquitectura] with their DSSH (Dynamic ShapeShifting Helix) Bridge.

    This organic concept features a unique dynamic motion and sustainable technology. A helix-shaped support system holds the transparent surface in place. Seeming to come alive with foot traffic, these supports and the flexible surface will move and shift due to the stresses of people walking across it, creating a fluid motion and natural aesthetic. The scaffolds and walkway also become illuminated by RGB LEDs that transform the bridge into an energy-efficient, moving lighting feature during the night which can be seen from around the city.

    The designers also incorporated sustainable features that minimize the bridge’s environmental impact such as special photovoltaic solar cells and plants. Since the outside surface would move frequently throughout the day, sanzpont [arquitectura] used foldable cells that power the LEDs used for nighttime. The clear surface which the pedestrians actually walk on covers numerous plants that clean the interior air and provide fresh oxygen, suspending a garden hundreds of feet above the ground. A breathable membrane also increases airflow and circulation.

    Creating responsive art high above the Montreal streets, sanzpont [arquitectura] certainly achieves their lofty concept.

    Image credits: UrbanGlobalCities.blogspot.com, Architizer

  8. Daylight + LEDs: Re-inventing a Bright Idea

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    Sometimes new and innovative ideas can overwhelm tried and practical applications such that inefficiency becomes standard. The modern use of electric lights and lamps perfectly demonstrates this fact. For the past century, artificial illumination has dominated the way we light our workspaces and homes. Fed up with the humming of florescent lights, skyrocketing electric bills, and pollution of coal-fired power plants, many have turned to sky wells, floor-to-ceiling windows, and internal windowed courtyards to bring in as much natural sunlight from the outside as possible. With this idea in mind, an anonymous German-student submitted an interesting concept, called Daylight, for James Dyson Foundation’s 2011 James Dyson Award.

    Daylight LED Light Shelf Louver System

    This notion puts a modern twist on a forgotten technology over 3,000 year old, natural reflected light. Metal louvers hang horizontally outside of windows. These adjustable aluminum features block out the harsh sun and direct light into the interior space where ceiling lamps sporting LEDs and reflective panels hang. These interior components feature light sensitive panels that can increase and decrease LED output.  These combine with the natural reflected light to reach pre-set illumination levels and can even match the outside’s ambient colors.  Since the design focuses on reflecting daylight and not sunlight directly, it also eliminates hotspots and glare.

    Daylight LED Light Shelf Louver System Design

    Ancient peoples used polished copper plates to illuminate their insides spaces and versions of exterior metal louvers actually hung outside of buildings up until the 20th century before Edison’s invention pushed them into the periphery. The idea came to this nameless German student when he or she noticed offices and sporting complexes with drawn shades and blinds on windows to block out the harsh glare of the sun while interior lights and lamps blazed.

    With the Dyson Foundation’s contest open to entries until August 2nd, we won’t know the results for a bit; but by transferring a supposedly antiquated idea into to the modern age, the future for the Daylight concept certainly is bright.

    Browse the rest of the innovative entries and vote for your favorite >

    Image credits: JamesDysonAward.com

  9. Thursday Salute to Originals: An Origami Air Show for the Arts

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    A simple concept, multiplied exponentially, can often have breathtaking results. We came across this great post over at DesignSponge. To decorate the HeARTbeat party presented by a non-profit group called ArtsFund which helps support over sixty art groups by coordinating donations exceeding two million dollars, event planners Matthew Parker Events utilized more than 1,000 used pieces of paper destined for the recycle bin.

    Arts Fund Party Suspended Illuminated Airplane

    Since ArtsFund is based in Seattle and receives generous donations from Boeing, the event planners’ ideas went aerial, folding old newsletters originating from the non-profit’s offices into paper airplanes. The aircraft hung on wire and converged towards the front stage, being illuminated by warm-colored lights that cast wonderful and striking shadows on the room and party goers during the event.

    Arts Fund Party Suspended Illuminated Airplanes

    We applaud Matthew Parker Events for utilizing materials one more time before their date with the recycling center but wonder how long it took to fold over 1,000 paper airplanes without the help of local school children!  The project illustrates that a simple surface with deliberate lighting effects and a delicate suspension system can create dramatic spatial impact.

    Image credit: Design Sponge

  10. Designing a Beautiful Sickness in LED Backlit Glass

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    Make sure to wear surgical gloves and a hospital mask if you ever have the fortune to visit a Pieke Bergmans display. Her works have an infection that runs rampant through the crystal she hand blows. The disease twists and mutilates water carafes, vases, and crystal light “bulbs” of her Design Virus collection into shapes that don’t belong in the ordinary world, taking mundane forms and making them into something organic, alive, and flowing.

    Pieke Bergmans LED Glowing Glass

    Resting on office furniture, hanging in defiance of gravity, or scorching a table with their fever, her LED light “blubs” ignore conventional doctrine and defy the shapes to which we have accustomed ourselves. The vases lie in all different places and even lounging in a puddle seeking relief.

    Pieke Bergmans Space Invaders Custom Glass In Puddle

    Pieke Bergmans Massive Infection

    We enjoy the work of this Dutch artist and cannot wait to have an infected lamp blistering the studio desks at our office.

    Image credits: PiekeBergmans.com