Lighting : Lighting April 2016 - Vol 36 Issue 2
April/May 2016 | LIGHTING MAGAZINE 17 16 LIGHTING MAGAZINE | April/May 2016 The impact of light on human health is an emerging area of research. Here, a changing LED installation in the Quiet Room at the Duke University Hospital’s Cancer Centre provides a relaxing environment. Image courtesy of Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design. Lighting by Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design. Architecture by Duda/ Paine Architects. Photograph© Robert Benson Photography. DAVID K WARFEL Lighting designer and founder of davidkwarfel lighting design How do you think LEDs are transforming the commercial lighting industry? I think it’s important to emphasise that LEDs are only one of the key elements that is changing the industry right now, but I believe they’re essential to the change. Other forces are smarter electronics; energy and environmental awareness and legislation; science, especially with regards to circadian rhythms, and human healing; and the evolution of business models, but a lot of those wouldn’t really be possible without the LEDs. So I think LEDs are themselves a pretty big change, but taking LEDs with everything else is what’s really causing the disruptive change in our industry. It’s a fascinating time to be a lighting designer. As a lighting designer, how has working with LEDs changed your practice? It’s funny, in the lighting magazines I see awards for projects that were started three or four years ago and they have very little LED in them, but everything that’s being specified now is close to 100 per cent LED. If I specify a project now and it gets built, the construction starts in 18 months, it’s quite possible what I’ve specified today will be out of date by then. So even in the life of one project, I may have to re-specify the lighting two or three times if I want it to be what’s current. What sort of benefits do LEDs offer in a lighting design context? We can now put light in places that we couldn’t put it before, and we can now arrange it in ways that we couldn’t arrange it, so it’s much easier to get continuously illuminated surfaces. It’s much easier to get lines of light, and circles and curves and organic shapes and non-linear shapes. We can do all these things very, very easily with LEDs, that we couldn’t do 5 or 10 years ago without a lot of cost and custom engineering. I can be much more artistic as a designer because I have more tools to choose from. And what sort of challenges do they present? From a business standpoint, I really have to think about lighting design differently. I used to be able to specify a light fixture from one manufacturer and a light bulb from another manufacturer, and after using that for a while I could pretty much predict how it was going to work tomorrow and 20 years from now. If you replace that with an LED, I’m suddenly specifying most likely a fixture and a lamp that are one package, and I have no idea how it’s going to work in 20 years because of how fast the technology is developing. So it’s a riskier business; I find myself sometimes designing redundancy into systems that I wouldn’t have designed five or 10 years ago. What are your thoughts about the role of LEDs in the Internet of Things? I see a lot of manufacturers trying to get on the bus, but no one really knows where the bus is going. We all know that we want our devices connected, but you’ve got internet start-ups, dotcom start-ups, little manufacturers who came out of nowhere, and big manufacturers at the same time all trying to get on the bus, and everybody wants to drive it. You’ve got a thousand people grabbing for the steering wheel and we don’t know where it’s going to go yet. Have you had any experience working with IoT devices? Just for fun, in my studio, I put eight LED smart bulbs that are connected to the internet, an air conditioner, a couple of outlets and a few other switches and devices from different manufacturers. And of course, the manufacturers don’t really talk to each other. I’ve actually gone into my office and not been able to turn on the lights because of an update issue or an internet issue or a Wi-Fi issue, so all of a sudden you’ve added a thousand possible complications to whatyouusedtobeabletodo–toturnonand off a switch. In theory it works, and sometimes in practice it works, but it’s not robust enough or reliable enough for me to specify for a client. What does the future hold? I suppose the big question is, is LED here to stay? I mean, compact fluorescents 10 years ago, that’s what everyone was using, but now it’s mostly a dead technology Do we know that 10 years from now, LEDs won’t be surpassed by something else? MIT recently released a report [stating] that they think they can make incandescent light bulbs 40 times as efficient as they are now, I believe was the number – essentially, significantly more efficient than LEDs. So you know, if that’s possible – if that becomes a market viable option – then who’s going to deal with LED drivers and LED chips and LED dimming? I don’t know. I don’t know where we’ll be 10 years from now; I guess that’s the big thing. LED technology has created more opportunities for flexible design. LED lighting on this Bank of China exterior creates a linear, geometric effect. Image courtesy of Lightswitch. Lighting Design by Lightswitch Architectural. Design Architect Pei Partnership Architects.
Lighting February 2016 - Vol 36 Issue 1
Lighting June 2016 - Vol 36 Issue 3