5 main trends in street and architectural lighting
How are lighting devices improved? How do the luminaries of the future look like? And how do lighting manufacturers unite to preserve the environment? Ksenia Kosaya, lighting designer at QPRO, an expert in lighting design, spoke about the key areas in the development of architectural lighting and lighting for public spaces.
Trend 1: Light Pollution Control
The development of the street lighting market has brought a new nightlife to cities, but at the same time their residents have lost the opportunity to see the spectacular starry night sky which we could see 100 years ago. Millions of children living in Moscow or European cities have never seen the Milky Way or constellations in the city areas where they live. Light pollution has become a side effect of the industrial civilization. Therefore, now the leaders of the lighting market are faced with the task of limiting light flow of illumination from a source in new devices, which should lead to a decrease in the brightness of the night sky glow. How can this be achieved? The International Association “Dark Sky”, which aims to control light pollution, recommends the use of shielded devices in which the light output is directed towards the illuminated surface on the earth or building. A comfortable visual environment assumes the use of light only where it is needed, without flow of light and glare. Light master planning defines light intensity zones and lighting types of equipment. Work with lighting in public space, an object of architecture cannot be carried out in isolation from the existing situation. This is how the work on lighting for Triumfalnaya Square and architectural lighting of the Patriarch’s courtyard in Zaryadye Park proceeded. Analysis of the environment, the level of general illumination helps to determine the design tasks. The main task is always the visual comfort of a person, which is impossible without high-quality equipment.
Trend 2. Color temperature of light
The color temperature of LED sources, the early generation of which had a cold color temperature of 5000K or higher, tends to a warmer spectrum. Devices with a warm color temperature are safer, the human eye perceives objects illuminated by warm light better due to a lower brightness contrast, they also have less harmful effects on living organisms compared to “cold” sources. Some companies list products with a color temperature of 2200 Kelvin. This is close to the sodium lamp we all used in street lighting. We predominantly use warm color temperatures in all our street lighting projects. However, there are examples where the use of a colder spectrum makes it possible to influence a person’s perception of an object. Thus, in the project of the MATREX public building of the Skolkovo innovation center, the original lighting concept was with the use of equipment that changes color temperature, from warm in winter to cold one in summer. The architect intended the cool white light to have a cooling effect.
Trend 3. Projecting luminaries
Today many objects want to enhance due to the brightness of the facade, increasing the intensity of light from lighting fixtures. A technology that can distinguish an object through a different approach is projection. Special lenses or stencils in the body of street luminaries embody theatrical lighting effects. This technique can be used as navigation. It also allows light to be in places where lighting equipment cannot be installed. For example, on historical buildings, heritage sites. As world practice shows, this gobo effect has found its application in walking areas of cities. Moscow is no exception. Projecting luminaries you can see on the paths of the Boulevard Ring.
Trend 4. Luminaries with simple architecture integration
In architectural lighting specialists prefer devices with minimal dimensions, which are easy integrated into the plastic of the façade and which do not interfere with the perception of architecture. Reducing the size of devices becomes possible due to the reduction of electrical components, the development of beam collection technology. The shape of the lumonaries has also been rethought in relation to the elements of the facade. This gives a lot of variability in the applied effects that reveal the details of the architecture at night. A well-known example is luminaries with toroidal optic, which are often installed to highlight window openings in a building. It can give a graphical accent in the interior, to introduce geometry, which we often use.
Trend 5. Impact of Internet of Things technology on lighting
Now the Internet of Things (IoT) technology is being actively implemented, city streets fills with sensors, WI-FI modules, video cameras and other components of this system, each of which has its own shape, dimensions, and installation location. They are all different and there are more and more of them, which leads to visual pollution. Modern multi-lighting poles can include not only a lighting module, but also smart component modules. Luminaire also becomes a smart module in this system, which is programmed by the data collection algorithm and is no longer just a light source, but an element of a smart city. In smart cities lighting can change the way people and cities interact. Becoming focused on human activity, lighting can change the intensity, types of illumination during the day without additional energy costs. These lighting installations are a good example of how all things in the IoT concept are interconnected and work to their maximum. This is an unfamiliar trend for Moscow, but there are already many global conceptual developments. The spread of this technology takes time and process rethinking. New technologies should be aimed not only at the shape of the device, its appearance, but also at the general improvement of the environment and the development of the city.