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Illuminating entertainment

Greg Blackman looks at some of the spectacular shows and art installations now possible with laser diodes


aser light shows might be familiar from huge sporting events, such as the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, or as part of the

pyrotechnics at rock concerts, but using the laser as an artistic tool is less common. Mike Gould describes himself as one of the few laser artists working in the USA and his latest art installation – L is for Laser – can be seen at the Alden B Dow Museum of Science and Art in Midland, Michigan. He will also be presented with the Innovative Application award at the International Laser Display Association (ILDA) conference, which takes place in Aalen, Germany, from 4 to 7 November. The prize will be awarded for his ‘Status 10’ laser sculpture, a 4,000 square foot indoor laser display in the


Stefan von Terzi, marketing director at Zumtobel, discusses the LED lighting design for the Light Art Project, which was presented during the recent LED professional Symposium and Expo

As part of the LED professional Symposium and Expo (LpS) 2013, which took place from 24 to 26 September, Zumtobel presented an innovative light installation at the newly renovated Vorarlberg Museum in Bregenz, Austria. The aim of the Light Art Project was to build a bridge between LED lighting technology and application. An artistic interplay of light and shadow was projected on the museum’s façade by the artist, Peter Kogler.

The lighting concept for the museum was developed in collaboration with lighting designer Manfred Draxl. With structural and

technical requirements in mind, a custom-made lighting concept, meeting the quality requirements, particularly in regards to efficiency and perfect colour rendering, was developed. Around 90 per cent of the lighting solutions were customised, including more than 1,400 special luminaires. All areas of the museum were uniformly lit with a warm white colour temperature of 3,000 Kelvin for creating the right lighting conditions for the exhibits as well as a pleasant atmosphere for visitors. The reason why LED lighting is suitable for museums is that, first of all, the luminous efficiency of the

latest-generation of LEDs is far higher than that of halogen incandescent lamps and is currently more than 100 lm/W, depending on the colour temperature. Moreover, a key benefit of LEDs is the long service life of around 50,000 hours until the luminous flux drops to 70 per cent. Especially for museums, LED lighting provides a perfect solution since LEDs produce particularly gentle light for exhibits with negligible UV and IR radiation. In addition, the focused light produced by LEDs is ideal for accent lighting.

Adjusted to the slightly conical

layout of the building, multi- functional mono-points (MMP) were developed for the exhibition areas and the foyer. Recessed into the ceiling along a grid, they allowed unobtrusive homogeneous installation and flexible integration

of luminaires, loudspeakers, heavy-duty elements and electrical supply as required. The MMP automatically detects when a luminaire is installed and connects it to the central Luxmate Litenet lighting management system. This system forms a central unit that can be operated and configured via smartphones and tablets, which makes controlling the lighting easy. Moreover, a special concept for the illumination of exhibition spaces was developed, which means luminaires installed in retrospect can be integrated into the existing lighting solution immediately. For uniform vertical illumination

of walls, with the light centre at eye level, Zumtobel used wall-washers as suspended pendant luminaires with a length of 470mm. Moreover, two pivoting LED luminaires – a

lobby of the Marriott hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Speaking about his museum installation, Gould said: ‘It’s my first major gallery exhibit, so I’m very excited about it. I am one of the few people doing actual laser art... I’ve spent 10 months building all the projectors and making it all come alive.’ The gallery opened at the beginning of October. Gould’s exhibit is made up of five art pieces filling the inside of one of the gallery halls. Seventeen diode lasers housed in metal lunch- boxes project onto the walls and ceiling; one of the displays is interactive, with the lasers controlled by a Microsoft Kinect sensor to translate the movement of the visitors into speed and brightness of the lasers.

A laser event at the Marina Bay waterfront in Singapore


@electrooptics |

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