Pushing the boundaries of lighting

Colour-themed meeting rooms illuminated with LEDs and the use of non-louvred lighting fittings, made possible by advances in the brightness of computer screens, redefine the boundaries of workplace lighting for BP in Canary Wharf. (Photo: Paul Pompii)
Dramatic Lighting immediately attracts attention. Modern and imaginative techniques play a key role in creating stimulating environments in workplaces — as the latest Lighting Design Awards demonstrate.Effective lighting for building interiors is much, much more than simply installing lighting fittings and control systems to deliver defined illumination levels and avoid glare on VDUs. That approach delivers bland, boring interiors — which is certainly not the case with entries for the annual Lighting Design Awards. This year’s awards attracted nearly 200 entries covering both lighting schemes and product innovations. A fine example of redefining workplace lighting is provided by the winner of this category. New luminaire technology was specially developed for the new offices of BP in 20 Canada Square in London’s Canary Wharf. BP occupies six floors of this building, comprising 22 000 m2. Designer MEIT says that the project pushes the boundaries of the present lighting guidelines and challenges the concepts behind the CIBSE LG3 and LG7 guidelines. In response to advances in the brightness of computer screens, the designer has utilised non-louvred light fittings. The final scheme includes illuminated ceilings, dynamic lighting levels, lighting levels approaching 1000 lx, dynamic colour throughout for visual interest and illuminated vertical surfaces with visual interest and not just static surfaces. The judges described the BP project as a ‘very, very clever scheme’, noting that the emphasis is on employees and office areas and that colour has been used with a purpose. Highly commended in the category for workplace lighting was Euro Packaging in Birmingham. Designer Elektra Lighting described the lighting concept as taking the design values usually associated with a luxury hotel and transferring them to the office environment. The reception and atrium feature a wide illuminated slot wrapping from the ceiling down to the wall, providing all the light for the space. Coloured coffers, tight table spotlighting and wall scalloping, plus scene setting, enhance the staff canteen. General office space has efficient modular fittings, and a coffer edge detail adds uplighting to the mix. The other highly commended entry for workplace lighting was acclaimed for its bold use of colour technology in an office environment. Lighting designer Maurice Brill of Lighting Design describes the office of Parker Green as presenting an unusual set of challenges. Good-quality workplace lighting had to be complemented by a sophisticated layer of entertainment lighting to suit various professional events and parties. Workplace lighting includes dimmable fluorescent lamps within concealed coves to take daylighting into account, with individual task lamps provided throughout. The entertainment factor is delivered by accent lighting and colour washed using colour-changing LEDs. Lighting in heritage buildings faces the dual challenges of function and discreet aesthetics. Such is the winner of the heritage section of the Lighting Design Awards, Peterborough Cathedral, which the judges describe as ‘a very balanced and subtle scheme’ with ‘superb attention to detail’. The scheme devised by Lighting Design Partnership for Peterborough Cathedral mixes metal-halide and tungsten-halogen lamps to retain a consistent colour appearance on the stonework and the subtle use of dimming, while achieving optimum energy efficiency.
A complex control system from Helvar makes possible a wide range of scene settings in Peterborough Cathedral. (Photo: Peter Iain Campbell)H6> Much of the equipment is installed at triforium level for health-and-safety reasons relating to maintenance. Focused tungsten-halogen fittings have been used for the pew downlighting and highlighting the arches. Roof uplighting, using metal-halide sources, reveals the clerestory arches, and narrow, linear beams of light highlight the columns throughout the interior. This combination of light sources enables dimmable lighting to be used for services and low-energy lighting at other times. A complex control system from Helvar provides a wide range of scene setting to enable different parts of the building to achieve different lighting effects. LEDs light the music in the choir stalls. Innovations in the components of lighting are recognised in their own sections on luminaires and light sources and control gear. Venture Lighting Europe was commended for its Ventronic control gear for high-pressure sodium or metal-halide light sources. This electronic control gear enables high-wattage lamps to be dimmed — increasing the options for energy-efficient lighting control in factories and warehouses. Ventronic makes possible daylight linking and lighting control via timers or occupancy sensors — in the same way as is commonly available for fluorescent lighting installations. Among a wide range of performance-enhancing features for Ventronic are resonant start, shorter time to reach optimum temperature, flicker-free operation, enhanced colour performance and built-in diagnostics. The life of this equipment is said to be at least 15 years. Bringing a new approach to office lighting is the winner of the category for interior luminaires from Etap Lighting. The key design feature is a specially developed material for controlling light, Meso Optic, for use in the UM series of luminaires.
While you cannot see the fluorescent tube in this luminaire from Etap Lighting, 92% of the light is transmitted by an optical film and its supporting substrate.H6> At the heart of the Meso Optic is a holographically generated film that is only 5 nm thick. It is bonded to a polycarbonate or PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) substrate for mechanical strength. The combined transmission efficiency of the film and substrate is 92%, while ensuring that the lamps are not visible and merged with the luminance on the back reflector. This material controls light in a way that yields polar curves optimised for office applications.
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