LED clouds light a temple
Temple B’nai Israel in Oklahoma City features a truly unique application of Color Kinetics’ intelligent LED lighting—an example of the technology’s increasing adoption by places of worship. The ability to enhance and create solemn or festive environments with simple control holds great appeal, as does the low-maintenance, long-life, low-heat nature of LED sources, which can be concealed in tight spaces, near fabrics, and other areas where conventional lights are impractical.
A perfect example is the installation at Temple B’nai Israel, which won an IES International Illumination Design Award of Merit in 2005. An etched, acrylic sculpture above the pulpit was designed to represent clouds and a central Eternal Light. The challenge was to light the clouds with softly transitioning colors while keeping the center lit in gold. Because the limited space behind the sculpture is very difficult to access, a conventional lighting system requiring frequent bulb replacement was undesirable. Furthermore, traditional incandescent or halogen sources would have required gels or filters to generate colored light. Instead, the design team chose Color Kinetics’ ColorBlast 6—a compact, LED-based wall-washing system capable of generating rich, saturated color and dynamic, color-changing effects. The design required just ten ColorBlast 6 units, which were mounted behind the top layer of acrylic, shining straight onto the frosted panels from behind.
According to Eric Stewart of Smith Lighting, “The area where the fixtures are located is virtually inaccessible because of the protrusion of the panels, and maintenance was therefore a critical issue. Controllability was another very important factor, and ColorBlast 6 delivered the required level of control while eliminating our maintenance concerns.” A series of custom lighting effects were programmed to complement various Temple ceremonies and events, such as a sunrise-to-sunset effect. This was achieved with ColorPlay authoring software and an iPlayer 2 storage/playback device. The light shows are triggered with a simple Controller Keypad interface. No matter the effect, the center panel always remains lit in gold to symbolize the Eternal Light. And in this case, ‘eternal’ is not far off the mark, as it’s wired to remain lit even in the event of a power outage. Furthermore, the LED-based ColorBlast 6 system is rated to last far longer than conventional light sources, and will never simply “burn out.” Instead, LEDs experience lumen depreciation over time, and will gradually fade in output rather than go dark.
The tranquil sculpture blends color and light for generations of worshippers to come.