Monthly Archives: October 2013

Light Matters: Europe’s Leading Light Festivals

In mid autumn, when the nights get longer in the northern hemisphere, we encounter numerous light festivals. And indeed, within the last ten years, more and more light festivals have globally emerged. The reason for the success of light festivals is simple, as the German curator Bettina Pelz concludes: “It’s actually fairly easy, because whenever you do something with light in cities in the night, then people do come. If you do it good, they come twice.”

As Pelz points out, light is an apt medium for evening events, since it easily attracts people. Communities have discovered the potential of lighting for city marketing, and the closer they plan their date to Christmas, the more they merge their illumination with the festive blinking lights of commercial Christmas markets.

Join us on a tour through some of the leading light festivals in Europe. Read more about their different backgrounds, artistic concepts and future trends after the break…

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Written by: Thomas Schielke

Source: archdaily

Changing Skyline: Art Installation Transforms Chestnut Hill Meetinghouse

“Please sit down and greet the light,” Jon Landau instructed as visitors arrived at the new Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House the other day just before sunset. By “sit down,” Landau, a meeting member, actually meant “lie down.” And by “greet the light,” he meant, be prepared for Philadelphia’s most entrancing new art installation.

In preparation for a public showing of Skyspace, a wordless narrative of light and color by internationally renowned artist James Turrell, yoga mats were unfurled on the floor of the bare white sanctuary. People reclined on the handmade wooden benches. Children cozied into the parentheses of their parents’ arms. Everyone gazed heavenward, waiting in silence for the show to begin.

And then, without anyone realizing it, it did.

A retractable cover glided off the meetinghouse roof, revealing a patch of late-afternoon sky through a square aperture in the vaulted ceiling. The square turned a deep cerulean blue, and the china white of the ceiling softened to eggshell.

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Written by: Inga Saffron


Blue Lights Keep Alive Infant With Rare Condition

It’s not uncommon for newborns to go home with slightly yellowed skin – a condition called jaundice – that usually disappears in a few days as their livers mature.

For Nina Lowry, though, the yellow cast to her skin and the whites of her eyes lingered months.

Five times, her parents took the blue-eyed baby from their apartment at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, where her father is an Army musician, to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk so she could lie under special lights that broke down a toxin called bilirubin in her bloodstream.

Tests finally led to a diagnosis of Crigler-Najjar syndrome, a genetic disorder so rare only one in a million newborns worldwide have it. Nina’s was the first case the doctor who treated her had ever seen.

An enzyme responsible for breaking down bilirubin doesn’t work properly, and the buildup of the toxin can eventually lead to brain damage and death.

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Written by: Elizabeth Simpson

Source: The Virginian-Pilot

NYC Is Replacing Its 250,000 Street Lights with LEDs

In recent years, we’ve watched with wonder as boring old yellow halogen car headlights have been replaced with futuristic, Tron-like LEDs. Now, that transition is about to take place on the city scale, as New York City prepares to replace its street lamps—all 250,000 of them—with LEDs.

Mayor Bloomberg announced the massive project on Thursday, pointing out straight away that the shift to LEDs would save the city $6 million in energy costs and $8 million in maintenance—that’s $14 million total, math whizzes—every year. That’s not even counting the long-term environmental effects of the energy conservation. With the announcement, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was ready with the puns: “Using LEDs for street lighting is more than just a bright idea, it’s a necessity for sustainable cities to operate more efficiently while also delivering clearer, better quality light for New Yorkers.” While testing has been underway for years, the transition should be complete by 2017.

Indeed, New York is not the only city to take this more sustainable route. Earlier this year, Los Angeles completed the first phase of the world’s largest LED street light replacement project to date, though New York’s 250,000 will eclipse that figure. Smaller cities like St. Paul and even Las Vegas have also made the transition and saved taxpayers millions of dollars.

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Written by: Adam Clack Estes

Source: Gizmodo

LED Lighting Creeps Toward Tipping Point

Overhauls across both Las Vegas and Los Angeles offer a vivid illustration of what’s possible – especially when you consider that street lights can account for up to 40 percent of a given city’s electricity bill.


For perspective, in 2008, the city paid $16 million for the electricity to keep its street lights lit. It is saving almost half that amount, $7.5 million, through the retrofit.

Despite savings of this sort, LED lighting will only account for about 5 percent of all the technologies used in retrofit projects this year, estimates Navigant Research. By 2017, however, its share will probably hit 40 percent; it will pass the halfway mark by 2021. One big factor is lower LED pricing, which is helping compress the payback periods.

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Written by: Heather Clancy

Source: Forbes

Newsflash: Abhay Wadhwa Speaks at PLDC 2013 in Copenhagen

Abhay Wadhwa Speaks at PLDC 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Abhay Wadhwa, AWA’s Design Principal, has been invited to speak at Professional Lighting Design Convention (PLDC 2013) in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 31 2013.

He will speak on “The Impact Of Culture And Climate On Lighting Systems.” A given culture’s position in the global economic development cycle is often reflected in its use of lighting in urban, night environments. Striking a balance between regional differences of culture and climate, and globalization is often a challenge. Abhay’s talk will examine the variations in lighting, concepts, and solutions in response to the local culture and climate.

This biannual convention is a 3-day event to bring the professional lighting and design worlds together. Architects, designers, lighting professionals, researchers, universities, industry, developers, and clients will be in attendance. PLDC is a platform to meet, learn about the latest developments in lighting design, and discuss the future of the lighting profession.

PLDC 2013



Recently Completed AWA Project: NYC Parks Department Cuts the Ribbon on Bushwick Inlet Park
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation cut the ribbon on its newest and greenest facility, an innovative 15,500 square foot multi-use building serving North Brooklyn’s waterfront. Designed by Kiss + Cathcart Architects, this wedge-shaped structure seamlessly draws the adjacent park up onto its roof to create a new public landscape looking out to the East River and the Manhattan skyline. Please stay tuned for more updates on this project.

Please read AWA’s complete Blog Post for more information.

bushwick edit 3


11 years as Adjunct Faculty at the LRC, RPI
This Fall semester, Abhay will teach his 11th Lighting Design studio at the Lighting Research Center at RPI. He has always seen this opportunity as an honor and privilege, and looks forward every year to sharing ideas, thoughts and philosophies with the graduate studio at the LRC.

Lighting Research Center


Solar Technology Sheds Light on Africa

Kenya – A charity group, Solaraid, is trying to resolve the problems encountered by using kerosene as a fuel for lighting in Africa.

According to the World Health OrganisTION (WHO), inhaling kerosene fuel every night is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes in respect of health.

Solaraid has developed a light that can be used as an alternative to kerosene.

Pippa Palmer, MD of Solaraid says “These lights use the very best of PV technology, battery technology and LED technology, and theyre pulled together into one contained unit. They’re made to immensely robust standards.”

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Source: eNCA

Tokujin Yoshioka At Museum Of Contemporary Art

Japanese artist and designer tokujin yoshioka is presenting his largest solo exhibition to date at the museum of contemporary art tokyo. ‘tokujin yoshioka_crystallize’ showcases a collection of retrospective artworks that document the evolution of his creative exploration, as well as new works that emphasize his dedication to the crystal medium. throughout his career, yoshioka has experimented with this material, particularly the formation of natural structures that are composed through a crystallization process. yoshioka adopts the practice for a variety of sculptural media and installation work, which includes furniture such as ‘spider’s thread’, a seven-stranded chair suspended in the air created by crystals growing onto seven fine threads.

The renowned ‘rainbow church’ is at the main atrium space of the exhibition. the re-conceived installation stands at 12 meters high – a towering, immersive architectural work composed of 500 crystal prisms that convert natural rays of light into rainbow colors, filling the interior with an overwhelming luminous chroma. following a visit to the rosaire chapel designed by henri matisse, yoshioka was driven to build a structure which could mirror the kaleidoscopic visuals that surround the inside of the church as outside light filters through.

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Written by: Nina Azzarello

Source: Designboom

Plant Physiology Expert Joins Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer

Newswise — Light and plants expert Tessa Pocock, Ph.D., recently joined the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a senior research scientist, leading the development of a new plant physiology lighting program. Her research focuses on plant photosynthesis, and plant development and regulation by light for traditional greenhouse crops and the emerging field of medicinal plants.

Prior to joining the LRC, Dr. Pocock was director of research at Heliospectra, in Sweden, where she designed light-emitting diode (LED) regimes to reduce energy consumption, produce healthier plants, and improve the quality of greenhouse crops. For the last four years, she has been developing a biofeedback system in which the physiology of the plant regulates the spectrum and intensity of LED arrays, in collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology, under a prestigious grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra).

Light is a powerful regulator of plant physiology, affecting flavor and appearance, as well as nutritional and medicinal value. Each wavelength of light has a different effect on plant physiology. For example, plants grown under “blue” light are physiologically different than plants grown under “red” light. And each species of plant has an individual response to different wavelengths as well.

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LED Light Bulb ‘Li-fi’ Closer, Say Chinese Scientists

A microchipped bulb can produce data speeds of up to 150 megabits per second (Mbps), Chi Nan, IT professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University told Xinhua News.

A one-watt LED light bulb would be enough to provide net connectivity to four computers, researchers say.

But experts told the BBC more evidence was needed to back up the claims.

Li-fi, also known as visible light communications (VLC), at these speeds would be faster – and cheaper – than the average Chinese broadband connection.

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Source: BBC