Dynamic LED-based light-art project headlines at New York's Flatiron

Dec. 17, 2014
A control system based on Crestron technology includes 16 controllable lighting zones in the Light Iron Project now on display at Flatiron Plaza in New York City.

A control system based on Crestron technology includes 16 controllable lighting zones in the Light Iron Project now on display at Flatiron Plaza in New York City.

In an outdoor holiday LED lighting exhibit in Flatiron Plaza, architecture firm INABA, in collaboration with Tillotson Design Associates, has created an interactive LED-lit sculpture called the Light Iron Project. Crestron supplied the solid-state lighting (SSL) control technology for the project that was selected as the winning entry in the Flatiron Plaza Design Competition.

LEDs are increasingly enabling public projects that combine SSL and artistic elements to create community pride and safe public gathering areas. For example, a dynamic LED lighting project in Birmingham, AL celebrates the importance of the railroad in the city's history. In San Francisco, organizers converted a major span of the iconic Bay Bridge into a giant SSL art project.

In New York City, in the shadow of the Empire State Building, the Light Iron Project is a post-modern sculpture composed of a 25×17×9-ft steel framework that is used to mount a combination of mirrors and LED lighting in linear, tubular fixtures. During the day, the mirrors serve to reflect images of the nearby buildings along with images of the street and people. At night, the sculpture delivers a dynamic show.

The park that's adjacent to the Flatiron Building is uniquely situated in the Manhattan borough for such a sculpture, and the project will be on display through January 4. "It’s a unique spot in the heart of the city, where the sky and skyline can be seen from street level," says Jeffrey Inaba, principal of INABA Architecture who led the creation of the concept and design for the sculpture.

Seven architects and lighting-design firms competed for the opportunity to work on the project. The winners worked on a pro bono basis in implementing the project.

The lighting designers at Tillotson opted to utilize a Crestron 3-Series Control System to handle control of the LED fixtures. The implementation breaks the LED lighting into 16 separate control zones capable of selectively dimming the fixtures. The result is the ability to create shapes, animations, and other special effects with the lights.

"As lighting designers, we’re excited to have the flexibility that Crestron provides," said Erin Dreyfous, lighting designer for Tillotson Design Associates. "Crestron lighting solutions are capable of so much more than traditional lighting dimmers. It’s important for us to be able to manipulate and transform the lighting we design, not only in this work of art, but anywhere we need to create a mood or attract attention."

The sculpture frames views of the Empire State Building while also reacting to the pulse of New York City. "Light Iron is an interactive sculpture that, when combined with the city lights and buildings, offers a beautiful and dynamic backdrop for visitors to use in their photos," said Brian Daley, Crestron vice president of commercial lighting sales. "We’re proud to participate in a lighting exhibit that everyone in the city can experience during the holiday season."

About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.