San Antonio Community Celebrates DoSeum Opening

(photo by Dror Baldinger)

Striving to connect the community at large with educational play — that’s the goal of the new DoSeum in San Antonio TX. The $47 million, 104,000-square foot project boasts 6 large exhibit areas and 2 traveling exhibit spaces across 3 buildings, with 5.5 acres of land and a visible water recirculation system. All this is more than enough to foster the “doing” environment of the DoSeum and the project has been highly praised since its opening in June 2015.

The project was highly collaborative, from initial investment to design concepts to final actualization. Vanessa Hurd, the director of the museum, intended the DoSeum to be a “permanent institution, a fixture in the San Antonio learning landscape…[with] teachers and school communities to help empower their efforts and to help provide learning opportunities” (San Antonio Current). Indeed, more than 6 months after opening, the University of Texas San Antonio’s College of Education and Human Development Department began partnering with the museum to bring educational research to the community.

(photo by Dror Baldinger)

(photo by Dror Baldinger)

Our client and exhibit designer Argyle Design developed each individual area of the museum to focus on teaching kids while they “do.” From a puppet parade to the spy academy to imagine it, visitors get hands on and active in every corner of the museum. To complement architect design details, colored lights were placed where they would echo lighting shade coloring. Each exhibit combines high- and low-tech interactives, from Google Maps and animation technology to hands-on lighting elements and a miniaturized town, providing ample opportunities for unique lighting elements, including lasers, blacklights and fiber optic lighting. In one room, colored LED wave lights and animation discs blend to mimic water, allowing children to explore the deep sea, then magically converts to a grassy summer lawn, then into a punishing Mars landscape, all at the touch of a button. The Spy Academy required careful details, including framing projectors shining through grids on climbable vents to dramatize the children’s experience. Throughout the museum, fixtures required careful focusing to blend the high- and low-tech features of each exhibit, minimizing screen or camera glare and enhancing the hands-on experience for every visitor.

(photo by Dror Baldinger)

Animated Lighting

Old-school camera techniques meet new-wave gif technology with artist Lucea Spinelli’s Ph?tosgraphé. Her work was recently featured in Architectural Digest






Spinelli does both the photography and the light effects, requiring deftness as she creates what she calls her “spirit portraits.” Her work is reminiscent of Krisztian Birinyi’s lighting photographs — except animated and with a touch of nostalgia (at least for me, I always loved making the light pictures with a long exposure).

Boston City Hall Gets Lit!


Mayor Marty Walsh has announced that Boston City Hall will get fitted with $3 million worth of new lighting fixtures. All LED, the 325 fixtures will revitalize City Hall Plaza and brighten up the building, hearkening back to its first days when floodlights lit the building. And, as an added bonus, the energy savings of using LED will make up for the cost overtime, according to a representative from the Boston Preservation Alliance. We are excited to see this project finalized this summer!

Light as Symbol

Early November brought the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The city commemorated the historic event and changes it brought by placing 8,000 illuminated (and biodegradable) balloons along the city where the wall stood, designed by Christopher and Marc Bauder.


The artists wanted the installation to be an “alien object,” like the Wall was, “something that doesn’t belong,” while also ensuring to evoke the hopeful feelings that came after the Fall. See their interview in this NY Times video. We think using illumination was a great way to achieve this. The artists made sure to use lighting in the balloons that was different from the surrounding exterior and building lights, achieving that alien effect. And the stark images of the lit installation in the dark definitely make one think of hope. It’s a common metaphor for a reason. Seeing that bit of light in the dark, either figuratively or literally, is a relief. In darkness, we often freeze. We can keep moving if we can see where we’re going, even just one step at a time.

At the end of the three days, on the anniversary of the Fall, all 8,000 balloons (biodegradable, remember) were released into the air, symbolizing the hope that came with the Fall of the Wall, and the faith of the people that they can keep moving forward.

Project Opening: Trip Advisor NYC


(photo by Nick Rezendes)


There were two goals for the new Trip Advisor office in New York City, designed by Baker Design Group to deliver an energy-efficient high-performing design, and to provide flexible gathering space for anything from daily casual lunch with colleagues to quarterly company-wide video broadcasts. Leading edge LED direct/indirect fixtures were laid out in an organic pattern to light the space, including a dimming control available on a fixture-by-fixture basis to accommodate the needs of individual engineers. The forum space incorporates unique uplighting for the cast-glass panels of the stairs flanking the seating area. Theatrical lighting for presentation needs is concealed in slots along the 4th floor ceiling, located where they can be accessed without a lift.




(photo by Nick Rezendes)


(photo by Nick Rezendes)


(photo by Nick Rezendes)


Scotland has declared 2016 their Year of Innovation, Architecture, and Design



If you happen to be traveling to Scotland this year, get ready for a good time. Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture, and Design (or IAD) is filled with events, openings, and education as creators strive to represent Scottish culture with contemporary designs. The National Museum of Scotland is debuting 10 new exhibits whilst continuing to undergo renovations, and the Festival of Architecture will feature 28 events.

It’s a huge undertaking but definitely seems like an exciting tribute to modern Scottish design and innovation!

Holly Jolly LEDs

‘Tis the season for electric companies! Lights indoors, outdoors, and covering trees and menorahs means big bucks for the electric companies. But with LEDs you can stick it to the man a little while keeping your holiday display bright and unique!

USA Today has a great overview of some of the newer LED products for the winter season. My favorite is Aura’s wireless bulbs. Their technology keeps the wires out of the equation, meaning you can light your entire tree (or even string them along a mantle in range of the ring etc) without worrying about tangles. Plus kids will get a kick out of the instantaneous reaction:


It is a little tree-specific though. For more versatility, the light strings are the best. We’ve talked about Philips Hue’s lightstrips before, and OLED can do the same, but the Lumenplay string mentioned in the USA Today brings that art-deco old-timey feel to their bulbs. Classic for the holidays.

The BlissLight holographic set is for the big-players — I don’t know anyone who uses those yet. I’m definitely going to be on the lookout through the lit neighborhoods though! Post your pics if you see or use them, too, either to our Facebook or on the comments here!

Project Opening: College Football Hall of Fame

DSC02986 The College Football Hall of Fame is a brand new facility in downtown Atlanta dedicated to the explosive growth of college football. It features 28,000 square feet of highly interactive and engaging exhibits using a blend of historic footage, artifacts, and state of the art multimedia exhibits. Gallagher & Associates, Museum Design Associates, and Cortina Productions were all members of this great team.


Greeting visitors is a massive Helmet Wall, displaying 812 authentic team helmets. A sophisticated multimedia interactive station let’s visitors “log in” and illuminate their team’s helmet, which stays illuminated for the remainder of the day.



All exhibit lighting fixtures use LED or Metal Halide sources, resulting in extremely low energy consumption, very long life, low maintenance, and low heat.


Available Light designed all Exhibit Lighting, and Exhibit Lighting Control Systems.

Project Opening: Bicentennial Library at Princeton Theological Seminary


(photo by Robert Benson)

The Bicentennial Library at Princeton Theological Seminary was renovated as part of a celebratory $100 million campaign for the college’s bicentennial. With a 45,000 square foot renovation and 91,000 square foot addition, the space designed by EYP Architecture and Engineering encompasses research rooms, collection management, and collaborative areas for students to meet. The collection housed at the Library is rivaled only by the Vatican’s itself, and the front community space houses a rotating exhibit with various artifacts.



(photo by Robert Benson)

The lighting was customized for the purpose of each individual room, from archival needs to study needs. The exterior arcade, first floor reading rooms, and research reading rooms are the most decorative, with multiple layers of light to complement the needs of each room. Fixtures include LED strip lights and custom-made combination fluorescent and incandescent pendants. Controls included dimming mechanisms and photosensors to keep the space as sustainable as possible.


(photo by Robert Benson)


(photo by Robert Benson)

The Responsive Lightbulb

We’ve talked about programmable LEDs in the home before. Seems perfect in many ways, right? Reduced energy usage and cost, individualized programs so each room can be treated differently, and they can help keep your biology in check. Generally, you need a smartphone to program these, turn them on, etc.

But now some bigwigs are coming out with a completely responsive lightbulb. The Alba is a bulb with built in motion and light level sensors. That means once it’s programmed, you don’t need anything for it to turn on when you enter a room. Or to dim when the sunlight comes through the windows.


Even better, the bulb starts to learn your home-lighting patterns. Always go right to the kitchen after entering the home? Alba will light you a path. You won’t forget to turn off the lights because Alba will turn them off automatically once there isn’t any movement.

Oh and those bigwigs? Just a former Tesla CEO and some NASA dudes. NBD.