Philips LEDs remember the Alamo, illuminate Brazil bridge

May 2, 2008
The Alamo has been illuminated with dynamic color for the first time, while the new Sao Paulo, Brazil, bridge lighting improves safety and reduces costs.
At two locations in the Americas, two Philips entities are lighting up uniquely designed architectural objects. Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions, the new entity formed by Philips' acquisition of Color Kinetics, recently added the San Antonio, TX, Alamo to a growing number of landmarks to be transformed by its intelligent LED lighting systems.
The Alamo remembered with LEDs

Meanwhile, the lights of parent company Royal Philips Electronics will soon illuminate the new Octavio Frias De Oliveira Road Bridge, São Paulo, Brazil, on a full-time basis.

At the Alamo, the temporary installation marked the first time the Alamo, an important symbol of Texas liberty and American history, was illuminated on a grand scale, demonstrating the ease with which LED lighting can transform venues for special occasions. The structure served as the backdrop for a visually striking light installation held in conjunction with Luminaria, a one-day celebration of San Antonio's diverse artistic community.

The lighting design was conceived by Bill FitzGibbons of Blue Star Contemporary Art Center using Philips ColorBlast 12 fixtures, which combine LED sources with digital control technology to produce near-endless color combinations. FitzGibbons refers to these art installations as "architectural interventions," emphasizing the dynamic effects that are made possible with ColorBlast 12 fixtures.

"My concept was to provide onlookers with a new perspective of the Alamo, while using light and color in a creative way to reflect the spirit of our local arts community," said FitzGibbons.

The Alamo is typically lit by incandescent PAR lights, which would have required colored gels or filters to produce colored lighting effects. For Luminaria, FitzGibbons temporarily installed the ColorBlast 12 fixtures along the ground facing the Alamo's facade, painting it with deep, saturated colors. The light show was synchronized to the music of the San Antonio Symphony, first washing the façade in steady white light then bright greens, yellows and blues that tracked across the structure. Only 30 fixtures were required to illuminate the entire surface from the ground up.

Octavio Frias de Oliveira bridge

Meanwhile, Royal Philips Electronics’ additions to the Octavio Frias de Oliveira bridge in Sao Paulo, Brazil, were previewed on April 24th. The bridge will be lit permanently this month on the highway complex’s inauguration day using the company’s newest lighting technologies including LED. The bridge was built over the Pinheiros River beltway to link the districts of Brooklin and Real Parque. The solutions provided by Philips consume 53% less energy than traditional lighting systems, while reducing maintenance costs and improving road safety.

Sao Paolo Bridge The main architectural feature of the bridge is an impressive 138-metre tall, ‘X’-shaped tower, which supports the overall structure. The interior of this tower will be lit by LED-colored lighting. The LED ColorBlast projectors allow the dynamic interchange of colors or the selection of a single tone, meaning that the lighting on the bridge can use different colors on commemorative dates or for special events. The use of LED lighting has already successfully been adopted to light wonders such as Inner Road Bridge in Bangkok, the National Theatre in London, and the Sala São Paulo Music Hall in the São Paulo state capital.

The exterior of the tower and the suspension cables attached to it will be lit by a delicate white light provided by ArenaVision projectors, which have been developed to light the world’s foremost sporting arenas such as the stadiums used in the World Cup Soccer competitions. The lighting solution for the exceptional Octavio Frias de Oliveira bridge has been developed by lighting designer Plínio Godoy, together with the architect responsible for the project, Joao Valente and (a bridge building company) OAS builder.

The lighting project also put clear focus on the safety of the motorists who will be driving across the bridge. With them in mind, the lanes and slip-roads will be lit by a Cosmopolis system of 140W white-light bulbs, which contributes to overall safety on the road. It also allows the light to be directed solely onto the road surface, thus avoiding leakage of light onto the tower or the cables. Ground projectors are to be inlaid in the earth of the gardens which are being built underneath the bridge, providing an interesting effect for the area’s plant life.

The ColorBlast projectors used are amongst the most efficient lighting systems on the market. They consume only 10% of the energy used by a traditional projector. A single electric shower uses the same amount of energy as 90 ColorBlast projectors. The Cosmopolis system installed in the Casa Forte town square in the city of Recife has enabled the Pernambucocapital’s city government to spend around 58% less on electrical energy in the area’s lighting.