Large open spaces need lots of lighting to improve both safety and ambiance. Well-positioned spotlights will add character to art or a historical building. Though the overspill from standard spotlights can be a nuisance — often drawing in complaints. Flush-mounted ambient LEDs offer more enjoyable effects — hidden from view and energy-efficient.
As the terminus of the Eurostar from France, St. Pancras, has a huge number of passengers passing through it each day. Adjacent is Kings Cross, and at over 160 years old, this station has gone through many updates and extensions. One update includes the linking of the underground station to St. Pancras.
King’s Cross St. Pancras became the first port of call for Eurostar passengers after Waterloo International closed. Since 2007, King’s Cross took on the duty of the first impression of British architecture’ to overseas arrivals. The station became a welcoming hub and, to enhance it, they wanted to create a new public meeting space.
“The First New Public Space in London for 150 Years”
Part of the project included preserving and highlighting the station’s Victorian brick entrance hall. But there are also many new features such as seating, sculptures, and retailers that would get the benefit of soft lighting.
Architectural firm StudioFractal took on the responsibility of this challenging project. The station manages over 20-million trips per year, so interruptions and obstructions were to be minimal. King’s cross is also a grade I listed building— so the planners knew that they could not damage or alter the brickwork.
StudioFractal teamed up with lighting design ACDC LED. ACDC lighting has an excellent reputation for its works around the world on both modern and historical buildings. Some of these projects include the Royal Opera House and FC Bayern Munich.
“Lighting Used in Major Venues Worldwide”
With this project, ACDC Lighting wanted the station to make a statement with strong but directional lighting. They also needed to keep the light pollution down by preventing overspill. They called on the glare specialist SmartLouvre. SmartLouvre supplied the materials that would modernize the area with hidden LED lighting.
The whole idea was to project a warm light onto the façade of the building, with 3000k white LEDs. This warmer light compliments the color of the brickwork. The LEDs are powerful enough to illuminate the square with a pleasant tone while preventing glare.
In the case of Kings Cross Square, roads run the front and the sides of the station. Light overspill can be a danger to vehicles and dazzle drivers and pedestrians walking across these roads. To ensure that the LEDs made the most contrast ACDC used MicroLouvre™. MicroLouvre won the Technology of the Year Award at the LUX awards of 2018.
MicroLouvre is a thin, lightweight, and strong louver fabric. The fabric is interwoven with up to 700 miniature bronze louvers per meter. The fabric also has a black polyester finish to make it more resilient to heat and light.
The result is a material that absorbs heat and light, removing any need for glare shields. This material can retrofit into existing light fittings, and it works as well indoors as it does outdoors. A common use for the material is for flush floor-lighting — directional lighting within the floor, under the feet of the visitors.
This means that you can have a concealed light source, one that does not create an obstacle for the public. During the day, the lights do not interrupt the view of the building, as with traditional spots. But at night, the full effects of the spotlights highlight the intricacies of the brickwork.
“Control of Light Overspill With Energy Savings”
Because the material is less than 1.6mm thick, it can fit between layers of glass, such as double glazing. The louver comes at a standard 17 degrees, but it can be at any angle. MicroLouvre IGU is a laminate of glass, MicroLouvre, and PVB.
This lamination keeps the louver clean — great for outdoor lighting. Lamination also prevents condensation build-up that can cause serious damage to LEDs.
Their products aid in reducing carbon emissions — by reducing the energy needed to cool buildings by up to 68%. SmartLouvre is a leader in light control fabrics that aid in the aesthetic lighting of all types of public areas and businesses.
SmartLouvre is the key to fresh, efficient, and innovative lighting.
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