Affordable and creative new techniques in custom lighting and design make us all masters of our own atmosphere.
Already missing the warm, whimsical glow the holiday lights brought to your neighborhood? No need to count down the days until it’s socially acceptable to deck the halls again. From mobile device-controlled smart lights to swing sets that light up the evening sky, lighting can bring a little playfulness (and added functionality) to your world year-round.
Comfy on the couch but need to dim the lights before you start your next Netflix binge? Want to periodically light up your house like the Empire State Building to deter would-be thieves while you’re on vacation? Lutron Electronics has the solution.
In 2014, the company announced its Lutron Smart Bridge Pro, a wireless bridge that connects their wireless dimmers and shades to a new Lutron app via a home router.
The system can be set up in roughly 30 minutes and allows users to manage their home lighting from anywhere using iOS and Android-based smart phones. It can also be integrated to work with several home security systems as well as thermostat controls. You know, in case you get chilly while chilling.
Estimated at less than $200, the Smart Bridge Pro could be the missing link between the $20 in-wall dimmers and expensive custom lighting installs that were previously consumers’ only in-home lighting options. Plus, the system does offer a tantalizing combination of practical functionality and potential amusement (just think how freaked out your partner will be when you kick the lights into strobe mode the next time you know they’re home alone).
Other light tech focuses more on fun than functionality. Vienna-based Argentinean architect and designer Germán González Garrido was inspired by his children to create his Light Swing, a quirky, technological update on a classic playground fixture.
“[The kids] love to swing at the park,” Garrido said. “I thought it would be a good idea to capture light paths with my camera as they swing, so I decided to build the first prototype.”
The color and frequency of the lights on the swing can be changed using a remote control, and a flash setting can give the quietest playground or backyard a pulsating, hi-tech twist.
He believes that designers will continue to create customized light and spaces based on people’s emotions.
“Lighting design must create desire, be fun and move further away from basic functional needs,” he said.
It doesn’t get much more fun than the dance floor, and that’s where you’ll find many of the most innovative uses of light, including Elation Professional’s Sniper 2R.
A beam, scanner and laser simulator in one, the Sniper was built around cutting-edge advancements in lamp, electronics, optics and motor technology. Features include a 3-degrees precision beam, a 3-facet rotating prism, and high-speed mirror system. The light spreads color and graphic effects at unprecedented speeds.
With the Sniper, lighting designers can simulate laser effects such as liquid sky and laser wave without having to follow laser regulations. No surprise that this inventive device took home an Award for Innovation at the 2014 PLASA Awards and is already being used by touring artists such as A Day To Remember and OneRepublic.
From illuminating your home to brightening up your dance moves, there’s no shortage of ways to explore how lighting can be used to add a little more brilliance to your life.
As co-founder and lead writer/editor for LA Music Blog, a Los Angeles-based music news and review website, Kristin Houser’s life revolves around music and technology. She is very pleased to share her latest music obsessions and all the ways technology allows her to discover and enjoy music with iQ’s audience.