It’s the usual yawning chasm in understanding of how a light fixture works, how it satisfies the project brief, and how it delivers its illumination. Inevitably it requires a depth of knowledge and experience that is lost on most non-lighting people, so it’s no good just dropping a luminaire on the table and saying, ‘but can’t you see?’
As an industry we’ve tried our best to bridge that gap, with photographs from similar projects or deft artistic renderings, all backed up by pages of photometric data and plots filled with grids of numbers. But the little voice in the client’s head is still saying: ‘Yes, but can I really trust these people?’
Architects are used to walking clients through 3D renders of their buildings before a shovel is raised in anger, and the introduction of BIM as a project modelling tool is gaining a lot of respect among building developers. But is there anything in the computerised world that we can borrow to help our clients understand better?
Reality – but not as we know it
Virtual reality has been with us for a while now, best known among the gaming community. And because of its popularity as a social/leisure tool, VR is becoming an expected feature on some mobile devices. Software for most smartphones is already available, and VR headsets can be bought for less than £50 (while Google is offering a cardboard version for just over £10).
Of course, stereo imaging has been around since Victorian times, so there’s nothing particularly new with the basic tech – two eyes and two images will do it every time. But what if we could introduce a lighting representation into a 3D spatial rendition and THEN view the results on a VR headset? Is this the breakthrough that solves the current impasse?
Client: ‘Show me.’ Lighting designer: ‘Certainly. Just slip this headset on.’
At LuxLive 2017, Holophane will be demonstrating how this use of virtual reality modelling can work. It will be possible to navigate within the virtual interior of a warehouse, complete with high-level racking, and see for yourself how a proposed lighting scheme works – and then alter that lighting to provide a comparison between other options or the existing scheme.
Why Holophane, and why now?
The LED has brought a commodification to industrial lighting that has sent lighting quality tumbling alongside luminaire prices. Buying on price alone has never been so hazardous, and the ‘trust me’ trope is wearing thin. And for Holophane, there’s a historical message to be reinforced. The company’s reputation was built many years ago on the quality of its prismatic lighting. High-bay luminaires fitted with specially designed prismatic glass reflectors created the most visually appealing and comfortable environment, projecting light directly by reflection to the working plane, while at the same time allowing refracted light to emit through the reflector, illuminating walls and ceilings.
Today, PrismaLED technology delivers ‘volumetric lighting’. By engaging its optical tradition, Holophane is able to address uniformity of light distribution, control glare and deliver appropriate illumination of both the vertical surface as well as the working plane. Add guaranteed LED and driver performance, and the Holophane PrismaLED demonstrates that real quality is still available within the industrial and commercial environment. And it can all be experienced, before contracts are signed, around the project meeting table.
See for yourself
- Visitors to LuxLive can enjoy the VR Experience. Demonstration viewings will run through the entire two days of the exhibition. But you’ll need to register well before the event to secure a place. Registration for Holophane: the VR Experience will be limited during LuxLive 2017. To book your place visit: www.holophane.co.uk/vr-experience