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My blog - here is where I talk about the latest in lighting design and how to make it work for you. 

Lighting Resolutions for 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! New Year's resolutions are cliche but I thought I'd start the year with some lighting projects to embark on for 2014. I find my blog pulls in a small but dedicated audience across the spectrum of design. Architects, interior designers, builders and lighting people seem to follow along in equal measure. So I wanted to make a list of lighting related things you should seriously consider for yourself and your clients in 2014. If you have others let me know in the comments or tell me on twitter. 

Find a Replacement for the 40 and 60 Watt Incandescent Bulbs That You Can Live With...

Yup this lamp is lit with an LED bulb. 

Yup this lamp is lit with an LED bulb. 

I already wrote about this, so I'm not going to beat the dead horse. I have found my go-to resource (see the link) but in this new digital age, light bulbs don't have to just be light bulbs. There are bulbs that can help you fall asleep at night, and bulbs that can change color on command. Even less fancy LED bulbs come in a wide variety of "white" light. So this is a time to get out there and experiment and don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them. 

Get Educated on Lighting Control Options

Whether you're renovating a home for a client, or getting ready to work on a commercial office space get educated on what's available as lighting control options. If you're working on commercial spaces I highly recommend investigating Wattstopper and their DLM system. It's plug and play, dead simple and still offers a level of granular control for users who want it. If you're working in the high end residential market, it's time to consider Vantage Controls. Vantage offers a wide array of beautiful touch screen controls. These screens mirror to tablets and smart phones and are infinitely programmable. Full disclosure my company represents Wattstopper and Vantage in the NY Metro area, that said I would recommend their products anyway. 

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If you're a home owner looking at low cost home automation options, check out the piece I ran a few days ago. Whether you're looking for a system to control a single outlet or way to control all of your lighting there are low cost, smartphone based control systems out there. 

Learn Your Local Energy Codes

State by state energy codes are shifting and becoming a higher priority in terms of code enforcement. Does your city conform to ASHRAE 2007 or 2010? Who does enforcement? What lighting power densities are required in the spaces you're designing? These are all important questions to ask at the outset. Some areas, NY and California spring to mind, will be further tightening their energy codes in the coming year. 

Learn How to Read Photometric Calculation Reports

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Photometric reports like the very basic sample I have on the right tell you exactly how much light is being generated by a proposed scheme at different locations in your space. Calculations like this shouldn't be the beginning or the end of your design process, but they do provide hard data to back up the validity of your design. Get used to thinking in terms of footcandles and working planes, especially in commercial work. 

These reports have been around a long time, but they are increasingly becoming requirements in our industry and with good reason. There's not reason to guess at home much light your scheme will produce and where that light will land. So even if you don't learn how to create these reports. Make sure you know how to read them. 

Ask Questions

We all get stuck in ruts. We find a specifications for a few fixtures we like and we use them over and over again in our projects. Don't let this happen in your designs or installations. Whether it means hiring your local lighting consultant or reaching out to reps on specific products, I encourage you to use the real people in the industry. It's so easy to keep clicking your way from website to website. Send an email, make a phone call. Lighting people love talking about light. Make their day in 2014. 

What did I miss? Are their lighting projects or resolutions you'll be taking on in 2014? 

The Problem with Lighting is Photography

Coming on the heels of my Pinterest rant the other day I started thinking about why we can't effectively talk about lighting on the web. There is such a vibrant conversation around most aspects of interior design and architecture, why does lighting seem to remain some kind of dark art, if you will? 

I think part of the problem with the lighting conversation on the internet is actually a problem of photography. Here's what I mean. I posted this image to my tumblr the other day. 

Installation at Kyoto’s Tanabata Festival Photograph by sprout+

Installation at Kyoto’s Tanabata Festival

Photograph by sprout+

It just struck me as a stunning example of what was possible when lighting a tunnel. I especially love the way the path is played with at the far end by the diversion of the LEDs. Then I did a little research on the installation. Here's what it really looked like.

Photo by David Calhoun

Photo by David Calhoun

It's still beautiful, it's just a very different installation. First of all its a walkway, not a tunnel. Second of all it's open to the outside so the LEDs aren't providing real internal illumination. By photographing the installation very differently we get two entirely different impressions of what the lighting looked and felt like. 

The most common problem I find on the web is overexposure. Look at interior photos across the web and the photos are almost always over exposed or "blown out." I'm not a photographer, so I can only hazard a guess that the reason for this is to capture the details in a room we would miss if the image was more realistically exposed. Unfortunately, this does a disservice to the lighting experience. When we experience a space, our eyes compensate for brightness and darkness and the contrast in between. That's why we can sit in a room with only a Christmas tree lighting it and feel comfortable just as we can sit in a blazingly lit conference room and compensate. The camera cannot do that. By necessity it must flatten the world. So we get photos like these. 

Transient
Transient

These photos are from a feature in Dezeen about the new Evernote Headquarters by Studio O+A

Both of these photos are over-exposed. I know that because in each of them people in motion are blurry. Look at the guy in the conference room or the person pushing the bike. They are blurry because of the slow shutter speed used when taking the photo. The slower shutter allows more light exposure making the space seem brighter. 

I understand that there's more to design than lighting. That said, I think images like these serve to give clients the wrong impression. I'm not saying the Evernote headquarters is dark. I actually have no idea what it looks like, I've never been inside. That's the point. Lighting is meant to be experienced. When we relate it in photos only (a necessary evil on the web) we unintentionally give a false impression of how spaces look and feel. 

Agree or disagree? The comment section awaits. 

On Pinterest, Kitchens Don't Require Lighting

OK, dear readers. This post is the extension of a minor twitter rant I went on yesterday. 

Here's the thing. I admit I'm already not much of a Pinterest fan. This post will hopefully go a short way to explaining why. Apparently, if we all lived on Pinterest all our kitchens would require for beautiful lighting is a single central pendant. The only variation is perhaps multiple pendants over a central island. 

You hardly ever see all of these dream kitchens photo'd at night with the lights on. Why? Because they would be either dark or glarey (I know that's not a real word) or both. 

My first example on the left is a lovely kitchen. It really is. I love the island especially, but here's what I don't love. The way too-big recessed down lights are way to close to the counter tops. That pendant over the island looks great, but it will only cast enough light at height to the light the counter top and nothing more. The cabinets will have scallops of light and the room will feel like a cave or a poker hall at night. However, at least this room shows the lights on.

My second example is another common one. This is an amazing kitchen with absolutely stunning woodwork. I just hope the owner doesn't plan on entertaining at night. The cute bowl pendants and rustic sconces will not provide nearly enough light to illuminate the room when the sun goes down. The lights here are just decorations...nothing more. 

Take a look at the third pin. When I searched Pinterest for "kitchen lighting" this is what came up. Yes this fixture looks cool in a photo, but it would be a terrible fixture in an island application. Why? It's not bright enough or directional enough for task lighting, it will hang low so there will be a bare light bulb in your face, and it's open so it will be hard to clean. Fixtures like these are never shown in photos ON and AT NIGHT. Because then you'd see them for the glare bombs they actually are. 

OK here's the last pin. By now you might be thinking, "Geez lay off. If people who aren't designers want to pin stuff you don't like, leave them alone. Why all the snark?" Well here's why. Pinterest spreads bad lighting ideas. It gives people without a design background the idea that a pendant and a sconce are enough to illuminate a room. What's worse, it reduces all light fixtures down to decoration. This last pin by Dwell, really hits the nail on the head for me. 

This kitchen is minimalist for sure. But there is only one discernible light fixture in the entire room. Now they have a giant skylight, but in the winter the sun sets at 4:30. That's a mighty dark kitchen to come home too. Unless there's a street light directly over their skylight, I don't see how anything get's cooked in this room in the evening. 

That is really what it all boils down to for me. Design isn't just making a space pretty or making a scene that photographs well. Real design is meant to be lived in, it's meant to function. Pinterest reduces design to what can be shared in thumbnail. 

We can do better. At least I think so. 

OK Pinterest lovers - tell me why I am wrong. The comments section (and my twitter feed) await!

 

The Joy of An Evening Walk

 

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I walk with Frank three times a day. Those walks are a great way to relax and appreciate the day. But it's the evening walk that gets me thinking about light - especially at this time of the year. 

The photo above tells the story. This was a quick snapshot I took the other night. The pond is frozen. There are Christmas lights making a tree shape in the distance. The orbs of light are reflected by the shallow ice. There are headlights and the glow of homes far off. 

Just one view here in Queens  

I try to never stop looking.  

2014 Will be the Year of Lighting Control

LED Is No Longer Revolution - It's Fact. Lighting Control Is The Next Wave

Even if you're only slightly interested in lighting, you've heard about LEDs. LEDs have brought rapid change to the lighting industry with their greatly increased efficiency and longevity over other light sources. From light bulbs to designer fixtures LEDs are rapidly infiltrating every level of the lighting industry. 

While there's no reason to think this trend will stop or even slow down, there comes a point where a change simply becomes the state of things. Even novice lighting consumers are beginning to assume that there are LED options for basically every fixture they could possibly use. 

So then what is the next sea change? (If my title didn't give it away) Lighting controls will begin to rapidly infiltrate the market. Architectural lighting control systems have been around a long time. Lutron has offered complete residential lighting control systems for decades, Crestron is a name brand in home media and AV controls. Meanwhile offices and commercials spaces are used to seeing Wattstopper gear in their walls. 

So where's the revolution? The trend we will see in 2014 is the increase in democratization of automated lighting controls. Here are a few examples...

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Philips Hue

I'm not breaking any news with Philips Hue. These RGB color light bulb replacements have been around for awhile now. What I said at the time is what I still believe. I don't think there's a high demand for color changing lighting in residential use. How often do you want a purple living room - really? The real power in the Hue product is the open API they've created that allows anyone to write software for Hue. Out of the box, you control Hue with your smartphone or tablet, the only additional hardware is a bridge that connects to your wireless router. 

The open API has already yielded interesting fruit. The website IFTTT (short for If This, Then That) , has created a channel for Hue. Sidebar: go check out IFTTT there are so many awesome things you can do with it. Here are some examples of IFTTT automations with Hue:

  • If I get a TXT from my wife, flash my light bulbs purple. 
  • Turn my lights on a sunset everyday of the week. 
  • Make the lights flash when Arsenal scores a goal. 
  • If it's cloudy outside, turn my lights on. 

These are just a few examples of what possible and with a much lower cost of entry than incumbent lighting control systems. 

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WeMo Products from Belkin

Here's another example of dead simple home automation and lighting control this time from Belkin. So I have a dog, as the internet well knows. With the shorter winter days, I've been forgetting to leave a light on for him, and since I'm a renter, I can't install a fancy lighting control system that will automatically turn them on for me - enter Belkin's WeMo Products. Including light switches, a variety of plug adapters and even a baby monitor, the WeMo devices are wifi-enabled smart phone controlled devices that make monitoring and controlling your lighting (and other electrical devices) painless. Want to monitor how much power your space heater is using? No problem. What to time your lights to turn on at sunset? Two taps. 

Remember our friends at IFTTT? Well there are WeMo recipes too. Here are some examples:

  • Turn on holiday lights at sunset
  • Turn on WeMo Switch by Google Calendar Event
  • Turn on Porch Lights when I'm close to home
  • Turn on My Bedroom Lights at 6am
  • Turn off a device once it's power has reached XX watts per day

This is what I mean about the future of home automation. The WeMo devices mentioned about cost less than $100. Compared to whole home systems 

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Smart Things

Smart Things might be the granddaddy of affordable home automation. By creating a one-time purchase Smart Things hub ($99), they've created a network of devices from third party manufacturers like Jasco and GE, to automate tons of functions in your house. When it comes to lighting, this includes plug-in dimmers, and replacement dimming switches. This enables all of the same kinds of programming that the solutions above can do, but it goes beyond that. Smart Things offer devices like door locks, smart key fobs, window sensors, and even a sensor that can detect temperature, moisture and motion in a space. This can lead to things like a txt message alert when your elderly father leaves the house or a turning the lights on when your windows are opened in the middle of the night. 

The Smart Home is Here

All of these companies have one thing in common, with ubiquitous in-home WiFi and increasing smart phone adoption, we see companies making home automation more and more affordable. This will challenge the incumbent controls manufacturers to play nice with existing home digital networks and streamline their own control systems. So whether you're ordering some parts and pieces online and setting up a DIY kit or you're installing a custom system for your new home, look for smart controls to reign in 2014. 

Readers: I need your help. I will be reviewing these systems over the course of the year, starting with Philips Hue. Let me know if you have any specific tests you want me to undergo...

 

 

Why Slate is Wrong about Glowing Sidewalks

Don't Get Me Wrong - Starpath is Cool, but it Won't Replace Street Lights

First of all, let me thank my twitter friend Fatima for bringing this story to my attention with her tweet to me last night:

Slate profiled a a product called Starpath from a company called Pro-Teq. Essentially this product is a prettier than usual glow paint covering for pathways making them glow at night. There's no denying the product looks cool. 

This image is provided by Pro-Teq. Notice how over-exposed the top of the image is? I wonder if the glow is as bright and dramatic in person. 

This image is provided by Pro-Teq. Notice how over-exposed the top of the image is? I wonder if the glow is as bright and dramatic in person. 

Here's my quarrel with the piece:

Pro-Teq owner Hamish Scott said that he hopes city councils across the country, many of whom are turning off streetlights at night to save money, will adopt Starpath technology to save energy and increase public safety with increased visibility.
— Kristin Hohenadel in Slate

Slate takes this statement at face value with little challenge. Here's reality:

  • Traditional street lighting is brighter and far better distributed for safety than this glowing path. Even if the glow paint is as bright as advertised, would you feel safe in a park at night lit only by a glowing path? 
  • Light absorbing materials have a shelf life - in other words they can only be "charged" with light so many times before they stop glowing with their original intensity. 
  • Retrofitting to LED street and path lighting would dramatically reduce energy use, last longer than a glow in the dark solution and make pathways much more safe for visitors. 

That said I think there could be some really cool applications for Starpath, such as way finding, decorative applications, and as an edge and lane marker for bike paths (if it's bright enough). 

What's your take? Am I being too hard on Starpath? Let me know in the comments or on twitter (@jamesbedell)

Light Bulbs are Changing - Don't Freak Out

It’s that time of year again…the shopping malls are starting to take down their Santas. Clearance signs are going up and much of the US is about to commit to starting a diet in 2014. But something else is changing this year and it’s bound to freak some people out. 

On January 1st 2014, the 40 and 60 frosted incandescent light bulb will cease to be produced in or imported to the United States. 

Let that sink in for a minute. The most popular light bulbs in America will no longer be available for purchase. 

It's become cool to say you'll simply hoard incandescent light bulbs - all of the sudden my friends who could care less about light are suddenly married to the glow of an incandescent bulb. However, according to a recent industry survey most people are unaware of the phase out. 

Goodbye 60 watt incandescent bulb

Goodbye 60 watt incandescent bulb

Of those surveyed about 1 in 10 (30% of those aware of the phase out) will raid their local shops and hoard incandescent light bulbs. The rest will convert to CFLs or LEDs (mostly CFLs). Earlier this year I endorsed a 60 watt A-lamp replacement from Cree. They also make a 40 watt replacement. My honest recommendation is to go to HomeDepot.com and order a few (in warm white) and try them out. Once you love them, you can put this entire crisis behind you. But if you need a few more selling points here you go...

  • The 40 watt replacement is $9.99
  • All Cree Bulbs come with a 10 year warranty
  • They are all made in the USA. 
  • They are fully dimmable on standard household dimmers, 
  • They look like a light bulb. 
Hello LED bulb

Hello LED bulb

...the survey found that only four in 10 respondents are aware that on Jan. 1, 40W and 60W incandescent bulbs, the most popular light bulbs in America, will join energy-wasting compatriots, 75W and 100W incandescent bulbs, in A-shape heaven when their domestic manufacture and import completely ceases.
— Huffington Post
Incandescent Bulb

Incandescent Bulb

Cree LED Bulb

Cree LED Bulb

Which bulb is which? Hover your mouse over to find out. 

Try not to look at the pinkish tone in one of the shades, this is the iPhone compensating. What is important is to look at the white wall behind the lamp. Notice that performance in terms of brightness and distribution is basically identical. 

There's no question that you'll see some difference in performance when dimming. While warm glow dimming is coming to LEDs it's not currently on offer in these Cree lamps (don't be surprised if it comes soon). And so the one place where I do concede a noticeable difference is in dimming. 

There are other viable competitors, from Lighting Science Group and from Philips, but on balance, for price, performance and design, I recommend the Cree lamps. 

One more thing. the incandescent phase out only effects frosted bulbs. Clear bulbs, candelabra bulbs, or decorative lamps are all still available. 

Are you ready for the phase out? Will you be hoarding? Ready to make the jump to LED? Tell me in the comments or on twitter

Three Holiday Lighting Don'ts - Exterior Edition

Tis the Season for Bad Lighting

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On my evening stroll with Frank I couldn't help but observe the holiday lighting of the neighborhood. Sadly, I didn't notice it for positive reasons. When we think of bad holiday lighting I think the vision of the Griswald house in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. A vision of the man of the house going wildly overboard and over lighting the house. Well when you go out and really look at what most people do, it's the exact opposite - skimpy lights poorly spaced. 

Don't Flood Light the Front of Your House

Your house isn't a monument. There's no need to flood light it. 

Your house isn't a monument. There's no need to flood light it. 

On my walk tonight I came across two homes that did this. In addition to their holiday lighting they decided to flood light the front of their home from stake mounted fixtures at the front of the lawn. Don't do this. Here's why:

  1. Your house isn't a monument. 
  2. This lighting method creates hideous shadows.
  3. It's a glare nightmare for the passersby and is probably very unpleasant inside the house as well. 
  4. It removes all attention from your actual decorative lights. 

Enough With the Figures in Lights

Hot mess

Hot mess

Illuminated cartoon santa heads, illuminated elf faces in Christmas lights, illuminated tree symbols in green lights. I hate them all. Maybe you can get away with a nice clean star, but otherwise, stop it. Christmas lights where never meant to make shapes. They are meant to make a specific thing that is not normally luminous, well luminous. Randomly hanging a Santa face does not holiday lighting make. 

Don't Skimp On The Lights!

The shrub on the left just looks so so sad. 

The shrub on the left just looks so so sad. 

Here's the inside scoop on holiday lighting. You don't have to light up your entire house or go on your room or anything light that. You just have to choose what elements of your exterior you want to light and then make them completely luminous. The key here is density. So if you're lighting bushes light the entire bush and make the lighting lush. If you're lighting your tree, yes you need to light the whole tree. Lighting you're roof line? Make it a very bright dense line of light. Scraggly lights strew around doesn't inspire joy, it just looks unfinished. 

What are your holiday lighting tips? What do you do to make the outside of your house look amazing?

 

Why You Should Be Sketching

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If you're at all interested in architecture and design you should start listening to the Archispeak podcast right away. Neal, Evan and Cormac talk about the practice of architecture in a frank and open way, and what I really love is that they aren't afraid to dive into specific subjects and spend a lot of time on them. A while back they were having a discussion about the old and new schools of architecture and the feeling that the art of sketching might be dying. Unable to let this discussion drop they posted an addendum that focused on sketching and thinking through design. After all of that discussion of hand drawing, sketching and iterating ideas, they've released their latest episode titled "The Mechanics of the Sketchbook." In their latest episode Evan and Cormac GEEK OUT over sketchbooks, pens, pencils, sketching on an iPad and all things hand drawing. 

All of this discussion of sketching got me thinking about the role analog tools still play in my work. Paper planning tools still integral for me. I used to carry three notebooks around, but I've since reduced to one - though 2014 will see the addition of a second.  I keep all kind of notes in there - running task lists, meeting notes, ideas, it's a running catalog of what's happening in my head. 

If you work with light sketching takes on a slightly different role in the design process than it might for other design professionals. What you're trying to demonstrate is a actually where light will fall and where it won't. Where it might create shadow and what those shadows might look like. Nowadays lighting designers and other professionals will create renderings to demonstrate these concepts and they are certainly important to the design process. However, let me give you a real life scenario that happening for me today.

I have a meeting in about an hour. In that meeting I'm going to walk an architect through three proposed lighting options for an office space. Now this week I've been slammed working on both all of my work for SDA and finishing up an event installation (more on that tomorrow) that had me on site till about 9pm. If I wanted to go in with a fully rendered set of options for three different lighting scenarios it would mean hours of building the room, arranging the lights and then letting the computer render the options. In a week where I am slammed (this meeting was called yesterday) that would be nearly impossible. Just as important, that's a lot of time and effort just to talk through options. So this morning, I sat with my notebook and I sketched out my ideas. They aren't perfect renderings and they will require me talking through them with the architect, but accompanied by cut sheets and application photos they are more than enough information to explain what I'm thinking. Once we've decided as a team what our direction is we can then do a fancy rendering package to show the client. 

A couple of concept sketches using a product called Lumenline from Lumenpulse

Concept sketch using a product called Tambient from the Lighting Quotient.

There's also something about the time it takes to sketch something that helps a designer's thinking. It takes time to shade a drawing or clean up lines, in those little gaps you can think through nuances of the design and make sure you've got things covered. It's a powerful way to think deeply about what you're doing. That, I think, is the joy of sketching because it's physical it's immersive. 

Like I said, if you're not listening to the Archispeak podcast go do it now. You should also hurry up and follow Neal, Evan and Cormac on the their twitter feeds. 

Are you still sketching by hand? How do you work through ideas? 

What I Learned From #IDCGreen

I can't believe it's already December 2nd. November was an absolute whirlwind in my life and so I haven't really gotten to cover the two biggest events of the month here on the blog. You can flip back a post or two and see some photos from my trip to Las Vegas, but I'll be writing more about LDI2013 soon. 

The other event of the month for me was #IDCGreen. I was asked by Laurie of G+ Interior Design Community to host an event live from Greenbuild talking with some friends of Crossville Tile.  The event page (and the embedded very long video above) will give you a sense for the event and what I got to talk to these green leaders about. But since I doubt you have two hours to re-watch the event let me give you probably the biggest take-away from the night. 

Sustainability Is Now Expected to Be Part of Great Design

JLC-Tech spoke about their awesome T-Bar Mounted LED system an innovative and design-forward way of lighting acoustic tile ceilings. 

I know there will be those who say that their clients don't care. They will say that sustainability is a nice-to-have not a must-have. They will go on using 100 watt light bulbs in 8ft ceilings and specifying whatever fittings they want because their primary concern is beauty. These designers are simply walking dinosaurs waiting for the asteroid. Whether we're talking about lighting or tile work or solar shading or bathroom fixtures or reclaimed wood or any other product under the sun there is always a greener alternative that will not sacrifice design quality. As Gen-Yers and millennials become home owners we will see the demand for low-energy high-sustainability products only grow. 

Let me be clear here - the high design crowd is just as important to the equation as the sustainability crowd. Without the constant critique of designers we wouldn't see manufacturers come to the table with better and better products. Products that are design-forward and sustainable. Going forward green attributes are simply folded into a great overall products. That comes from a blending of market forces equal in power. 

Get Educated

If there is one call to action I can give you it's get educated. Know the products in your field and ask tough questions. The more we hold manufacturers to actually backing up their green claims the more change we will see in the market. After all it is the specifiers out there who dictate what manufacturers work on. Get to know what's already available and when what you're looking for isn't there, go ask for it. What we found at Greenbuild is that the market will respond. 

Thoughts? Were you at Greenbuild? Is there a lighting alternative you're looking for but can't find? Tell me about it here or send me a tweet @jamesbedell

Las Vegas - The Land of Lighting Porn

Las Vegas casinos looked and felt exactly as I expected them too. Lots of soft light glitz and sparkle. 

Las Vegas casinos looked and felt exactly as I expected them too. Lots of soft light glitz and sparkle. 

Last week, I was in Las Vegas to talk about the Broadway Green Alliance's newest initiative the Greener Lighting Guide (more on that very, very soon).  It was my first trip to Sin City, and so a big side benefit was getting to see the lighting mecca that is Las Vegas. 

When you go to a city like Paris you see what happens when a very designed city creates lighting standards and those standards fold themselves into a unified aesthetic. Las Vegas is the complete opposite. In classic American style, every attraction, hotel and a sign is screaming for your attention with it's own branding, color scheme and version of Las Vegas glitz. As screens become more and more affordable we see a growing Times Square look to our attractions, less lighting more video ads. That said this mishmash adds up to a power experience.  

Vegas is what happens when design teams are trying to outdo each other. Sure Vegas runs a muck, but I would rather have cities that live on this side of the fence than the drab one. In the words of the king, Viva Las Vegas!

Have A Happy Thanksgiving

I have way too much to be thankful for this year. I just wanted to take a second here on the blog and wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Take the day to reconnect with the ones you care about. More on lighting, sustainability and design to come!

LDI 2013 in Photos

At the ETC booth we see the evolution of color changing profiles. 

At the ETC booth we see the evolution of color changing profiles. 

It would be impossible to encapsulate LDI in one blog post. So I thought I'd give you an impression of the show with a slideshow. But first, a few observations....

LED, LED Everywhere

The thrust of the presentations were all about the integration of LED into instruments. Moving heads, conventional profiles, wash lights, everything in between. It was an LED show at LDI. 

Flash and Trash

When it comes to concert lighting brands, it was all about creating the biggest, flashiest displays. That's not really surprising, but I would like to see booths get away from all feeling the need to outdo each other. Remember lighting is about how well you illuminate the scene, not moving lights as performance art. 

Controls Yes, Consoles No

There was a lot of conversation about wireless DMX controls, and systems monitoring. Pre-visualization got it's fair due. But no one announced major console or control integration updates. The console is the center of entertainment lighting, I expected to see more desks. 

Without further ado...the slide show!

Did You Go To LDI? What were your impressions? 

Maybe Losing #5Pointz Was Inevitable, But It Still Sucks

This post is a little bit of a departure from my usual lighting stuff, but I wanted to share  this story for those of you who read my blog but aren't from NYC. 5Pointz was a mecca here in Queens for legal graffiti art. The 7 train famously snakes around the building on it's elevated tracks running from Manhattan to Main Street, Flushing.

5Pointz is being turned into luxury apartments (like the rest of the city). Last night it was white-washed as if it never existed. It's loss marks yet another step toward a watered down art scene in NYC. As neighborhood after neighborhood is claimed by wealthy developers and willing politicians poor artists are losing places to go. 

I don't have a dog in the 5Pointz fight, but I do believe we are rapidly creating a New York City where creators cannot live, unless they create mortgage backed securities or write code in Silicon Alley or have a trust fund. Maybe this slide toward a wealthy ghetto was inevitable for Long Island City, but it's still a deep loss. Instead of an icon of independent art now 7 train riders get to see some glass towers. I just wonder where all of these art lovers will get their art, when all the artists are forced to leave town.