FAO Schwarz

    New York, New York, USA

    Photo Credits: Fred Charles

    Toy store brightens its image with light

    As far as famous ceilings go, the Sistine Chapel may top the list. Ranking a close second? The remarkably illuminated ceiling at FAO Schwarz’s flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York. Imaginatively conceptualized by Focus Lighting, Inc.-NYC and The Rockwell Group, the store’s ceiling was transformed into a digital canvas for artistic expression with Color Kinetics’ intelligent LED lighting technology.

    According to Focus Lighting, Inc.-NYC principal Paul Gregory, “We wanted to create a traffic-stopping event on 5th Avenue—one that would be bright enough to be seen from the street and draw people into the store.” The design team considered several light sources and luminaires in a number of on-site mock-ups, and determined that high-brightness, low-maintenance and highly controllable LEDs were the right fit. The solution? A total of 8,559 meters (28,080 feet) of iColor® Flex SL, (now specificed with Flex Compact gen3, RGB) equaling nearly 23,500 individually controllable LED nodes.

    The design called for clusters of three LED nodes to achieve the brightest result. “The bright LEDs give the impression that the toys are wrapped in light,” says Gregory. “They draw your attention into the store and provide an exciting showcase for the product.”

    Each LED node applies Color Kinetics’ custom Chromasic microchip, making it individually addressable for the creation of intricate, dynamic light shows. The ceiling’s design was intended to inspire creativity and capture imagination while educating children through themes such as color wheels and geometric shapes. The sequences range from moving patterns and shapes, to images of art scrolling across the field of LEDs.

    The Focus Lighting, Inc.-NYC team used Color Kinetics’ Ethernet-based Light System Manager (now specified with iPlayer 4) to program and control all of the LED nodes to function together to portray moving images on the ceiling. This controller provided a simple graphical user interface to easily discover and address the 23,500 nodes in the network, in addition to importing images - bringing the ambitious design to life.

    The end result is a digital artwork for the ages.
    Project credits

    Lighting Design:

    Focus Lighting, Inc.-NYC


    The Rockwell Group

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