(Left) Empire State Building (Right) Charlsetown High Bridge (via Phillips)
Gone are the days of incandescent lighting and in its place more efficient, longer-lasting, replacements have emerged in the form CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lighting), and more recently, LEDs (Light Emitting Diode). The latter have been used in an assortment of projects to ranging from modern home lighting to artworks presented on a massive scale like Light Sculpture Festivals. Philips Color Kinetic has taken the aspects of function and form to illuminate some of the US’s more iconic landmarks found in New York City and Boston. Back in May of 2012 PCK teamed up with NYC to replace the iconic Empire State Building’s aging lighting system with a computerized LED system that allows the lights to change colors (over 16 million shades) in real-time. The company outfitted the landmark with a series of iColor Cove MX Powercore and eW Cove MX Powercore long-throw LED floodlights along with Precision Dimming LED fixtures (1,600 modules in all) situated from the buildings 72nd floor up to (and including) the mast. These allow for not only a wide range of colors but also a series of effects (such as sparkles, fades, bursts, chasers and strobes) that can be changed on the fly depending on the occasion. The efficiency of the LEDs will ensure that the Empire State Building will be visible in the skyline for years to come. at
Roughly 216 miles northeast of NYC lies the city of Boston, which replaced the old Charlestown High Bridge with the Leonard B. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge back in 2003. The ‘stayed’ bridge’s modern look is actually based off the rigging of the USS Constitution (which last sailed in 2012) the world’s oldest naval vessel still afloat. In December of last year Philips again outfitted another iconic structure, however this time they used their proprietary IntelliPower PLC (Power Line Carrier) modules for the bridges existing power conductors to light and control the bridges Powercore LEDs. Their PLC allows for data to be sent over the power-lines along with electricity. Intellipower works by taking both the main electrical line and a data control line and merges them together with Philips’s Data Enabler module (using a 2+ line). The power/data line then travels to an installed Data Receiver where it converts the stream to a 3+ line that allows you to control the company’s Powercore fixtures. Like the Empire State Building, these LEDs are computer controlled as well and feature a myriad of color options and effects that can be changed in real-time. According to Philips, the company has already installed their efficient lighting solutions in over 34,000 ‘high-profiled’ installations located around the world and it looks as though LEDs have cemented their place as fluorescent lightings natural successor.