Last week we joined our partner, the Lighting Industry Association (LIA), at LuxLive in London’s ExCel arena. The two-day show was a festival of cutting edge technology, industry experts and case studies. As Europe’s biggest annual lighting event it brought together all areas of lighting from emergency lighting requirements to lighting for museums and galleries. With disruption caused through digital technology and more recently political and economic uncertainty, the industry has been remarkably resilient in responding with innovation in terms of both tool kit and service.
Human Centric Lighting
Within the Property Technology Live Arena, human centric lighting was a hot topic and highlights how the industry has advanced, with technology and data now playing a huge role in its innovative developments. We have already explored how data and technology is playing a significant role in the lighting of Glasgow as a smart city. There is growing scientific evidence that lighting does much more than simply provide illumination, it is an important time reference for our internal body clock. Human centric lighting is devoted to enhancing vision, well-being, and performance. Increasingly businesses are treating staff as assets and consequently working environments are changing.
Sportswear disruptor Gymshark presented on how smart lighting is a key element of their vision to create ‘the world’s greatest office’ for its employees. Working with Scenariio Intelligent Infrastructures, their Human Centric smart Lighting system creates comparable light within working space by adjusting the colour temperature to mimic the daylight curve of the sun (known as the circadian course). The smartengine lighting system installed connects over 400 light fixtures with smart sensors that are constantly monitoring and reporting on the building’s environment. This data can be used to produce space utilisation reports, integrate with other building management systems and control the light fixtures on a granular level to save costs and improve efficiency. This technology gives Gymshark data they can use to aid planning their expansion in the coming years. The system is already enhancing staff well-being and suits their flexible work load.
Lighting the world’s largest museum
The Lightspace London Arena featured a presentation on lighting the Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Centre in Kuwait. Opened in 2017 it’s the largest museum in the world, with an exhibit area of 22,000m2, equivalent to 20 football pitches. The mammoth task of lighting the 22 galleries that made up the centre was given to Sutton Vane Associates (SVA) who worked alongside 96 other consultants and sub-contractors from 13 countries to bring the large project together on time. Aside from the sheer scale of the project, there were many challenges that SVA faced in completing this project. In summer, average daily high temperatures range from 42 to 48 °C. Due to its location by the Kuwait Bay on the Persian Gulf, the architectural designers included many large south-facing windows. The difficulty this created from a lighting perspective was ensuring that the galleries were not too bright. Lighting levels had to be right for visitors, but low around historical artefacts to aid preservation, additionally there was a live forest within the centre with real trees needing light to live. The lighting had to work with the whole project.
SVA carried out daylight and sunlight studies for each gallery which influenced lighting choice, with them specifying glazing and designing of electrical window blinds to architects. Due to the time restrictions of the project, in some galleries where sculptures hang from the ceiling the fitting of the lights had to come before the sculptures were positioned. Because of this some required re-focusing. Due to access issues SVA had to use a team of Nepalese abseiling workers to aid in the focusing and aiming of the fixtures in the fourteen-metre high galleries across the museums. This meant training them how to focus a light at ground level, made even harder by instructions having to be passed through a translator.
These were just two issues highlighted by SVA that were faced in such a complex project. However, their hard work paid off, winning the Public Building of the Year at the ABB LEAF Awards in 2017.
This was followed by a debate on whether curation concerns are holding back innovation. As previously mentioned, lighting intensity can have a negative effect on the preservation of historical artefacts. The general consensus between the panel was that there needs to be more equal communication between galleries and lighting designers. It’s important to balance the need for curation, with an understanding of the audience and keeping them engaged. Panellist Sutton Vane made a plea for museums and galleries to communicate more with visitors about why certain sections of galleries are lit in certain ways. This followed a comment that parts of museums have been described as gloomy. With the sector struggling it was agreed that innovative lighting design is a great way to add value to a gallery. Sutton Vane noted his experience of lighting China’s Terracotta Army at the British Museum. Visitors would walk down two very dim lit corridors before seeing the first warrior, who would appear very bright, but would in fact only be 40 lux (very dim), tricking people’s eyes. In this project SVA were able to create an atmospheric, thought provoking and gripping space, adding value to the experience.
The LIA Laboratory
Within the LIA Arena there were demonstrations of some of the equipment from the LIA Laboratory. The LIA Laboratory is Europe’s largest independent test laboratory dedicated to lighting and came from a need by its members for somewhere to test products. LIA members receive discounted use of the laboratory. Accredited by UKAS and as a Nation Certification Body under the IECEE, the LIA Laboratory has the capability of providing several certification services including CB Certification and their own LIA schemes. The LIA verified scheme was created in response to the industry’s desire to identify quality products through trustworthy 3rd party verification.
One piece of equipment the LIA team demonstrated was the LabSpion goniometer. This new technology offers an easy to use solution for light measurement of any type of lighting fixture without the need for a dark room. The 2-axis goniometer enables for full 3D distribution of light to be measured. The key benefit of this machine is that it can give accurate readings in about 2 minutes, far faster than previously used measuring machines, therefore speeding up the R&D process for its members.
Keeping innovation at the heart of the LIA
Luxlive illustrated the exciting developments that are occurring within the lighting industry. Our partnership with the LIA has enabled its members to benefit from government funding schemes Patent Box and R&D Tax Credits. For member Haberdashery R&D tax credits were fundamental in supporting their activities. They had previously been claiming with their accountant but during the submission of their last claim felt unsure that all the relevant information to secure the correct claim value had been included. With further product development at stake, a fast-approaching European product launch, coupled with concerns around Brexit the successful claim we were able to deliver was essential.
If you’re innovating within the lighting industry and want to find out more about claiming R&D tax credits or Patent Box relief, get in touch and speak with one of our experts today.