Lighting design fit for a king

Osram transformed the glass façade of Kings Place, a new development in Kings Cross, London using its Lumilux T5 range of fluorescent tubes and Quicktronic electronic control gear (ECG). A contemporary lighting installation with a twist was created – the tubes can be programmed to tell the time or display text. Osram was specified for this project as its Lumilux fluorescent tubes and Quicktronic ECG allow individual control of the dimmable lighting segments.

The Kings Place development is a mixed use facility operating as the new head quarters of the Guardian newspaper and also comprising of galleries and dining venues as well as a conference and events centre. The exterior of the building has a distinctive glass façade, which is illuminated from behind by a number of fluorescent tubes used to make up 12 characters out of light. To signify the run up to the opening day of the development, United Visual Artists used this façade to create a digital clock. The clock was designed using a multitude of dimmable fluorescent tubes and programmed to be both a countdown clock and also a striking lighting feature.

To give the effect of a clock and create a visually contemporary lightwork, 318 high-output Osram Lumilux T5 fluorescent tubes feature in the installation. These are operated by Quicktronic electronic control gear which allows for rapid start up and dimming as well as flicker free light.

All fluorescent tubes, ECG, light control and electrical wiring were mounted on the reverse of a 3mm aluminium profile construction that geometrically defined the shape of each character on the clock.

The installation is a fluorescent membrane (canvas) used to display graphics and text as well as its primary use as a countdown clock. The installation works both day and night with the best contrast being created during daylight on an overcast day.

After testing competitor products, David Bajt at United Visual Artists explains why Osram was specified for Kings Place: “Osram has a strong and established reputation for high quality products and after carrying out tests on ballasts from other leading brands, Osram’s superior quality gave it the edge. We were able to connect our United Visual Artists bespoke visualisation and control software D3 system via a DMX controller system that communicates with the Osram gear to control the lighting installation, with no complications making our job a lot easier.”

The fluorescent tubes specified on this project were used for a graphical purpose as opposed to an illumination purpose. David Bajt went on to explain: “The Kings Place project is a perfect example of demonstrating how traditional lighting techniques and modern software can work together to contribute to the development of contemporary architectural lighting design. For this project, lighting played a very important role. It can completely transform the expression of the building in a millisecond, which was why it was so important that the right products were specified for this job.”

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