If we look back to a few years ago, lighting devices were passive. All they seemed to be then was a light bulb in a fixture. The possibility of them being interactive was not an option. But today, with LED technology and controls, lighting can be active and interact with its users.
Hence, in this new context, interaction nowadays is the new key word in lighting. It is either a question of interaction with the environment or with the city actors, the citizens themselves.
We have such an example here in Montreal that was developed and also designed by Moment Factory, a Montreal firm that specializes in such installations, which is called the Vitrine Culturelle on Ste-Catherine Street.
The Vitrine Culturelle is an interactive luminous façade (see the link below). It is in fact an interactive screen, a permanent interactive LED wall, which lights up the Vitrine Culturelle. It is equipped with a high-tech system, enabling passers-by to interact with light shapes generated by 35,000 LED light bulbs.
Three specially designed interactive games appear one after the other, and also react to the gestures of people walking by. The screen’s interface has been equipped with a series of sensors, which transform the architecture into a luminous creation, adding a new dimension to the neighbourhood.
Inspired by the nightlife, this innovative multimedia tool was designed by artist Axel Morgentaler and launched at La Vitrine’s official opening in the fall of 2007.
The public can enjoy this interactive façade every evening from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. all year round.
Another example of such an interaction involving lighting with LEDs is a video by Contrex that you can watch on YouTube. That video was also posted on the facebook wall of Moment Factory. Stationary bikes are placed side by side, outside, in front of a building and plugged in to a lighting system. When people start to pedal together, an interactive system lights up and becomes a lighting striptease show where a man takes off his clothing one piece at a time, making the public who is watching this, react and the persons on the bikes pedal even faster to see what will happen next.
As far as I am concerned, these videos illustrate in a brilliant way how lighting can become a fun event that is good for the heart and soul.
I find these examples of interactivity with its users the future of lighting. I am convinced that we will see, in the upcoming years, more and more of these installations to the great pleasure of citizens who can reconnect with their inner child and make them come out and play…