Thursday, January 20, 2011

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks with BIX: Reinventing the Fluorescent Tube in Austria


LEDs are the current rage in architectural light and are often the lighting technology of choice when it comes to media facades, or facades of buildings that are used as canvases for light, color, and animation. Though LEDs are excellent in this application, some lighting designers have become worried that their increasingly wide use is making them too common and potentially overused. The designers at Realities:United, a German architectural firm, sought to make this point among others by using making the already radical Kunsthaus Graz, in Graz, Austria, more radical by installing a media façade constructed solely out of circular fluorescent tubes. The media façade, known as BIX, was installed underneath the transparent plexiglass shell of the museum’s eastern façade. Using 930 fluorescent lamps, BIX achieves low resolution, rendering the images it creates bold and monolithic. According to Realities:United, this was done in part to stray from the TV-like effect of high-resolution media facades and therefore demonstrate that a lower-resolution image has a valuable look and effect that complements the museum’s existing architecture as well provides a unique attraction. The low-resolution of BIX’s fluorescent lamp is matched by its 20 frame/second frame rate and creates large and captivating images. BIX is important because it reminds us that the latest technologies do not necessarily trump the old, that older technologies can always be used in and innovative ways.

BIX’s use of fluorescent lamps reminds consumers and lighting designers alike that the newest technologies are not the only choices available, and furthermore that older technologies can always be used in new and innovative ways. Whether you decide to further explore fluorescent lamps or go ahead with LEDs, BulbAmerica has you covered! Leave us a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any other questions you have.

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