Folia Web interviewd us during the presentation of StreetHouse Lighting in the Agavestraat, Almere.
We planned an official demonstration in the Agavestraat, to test our prototype in the space that it was originally designed for. In the morning the technicians of Imtech took one of the old poles out and replaced it with our new design. Connecting it to the electricity grid seems easy at first sight, but to let it function in combination with the sensors and the color-changing light was quite a job.
We are making use of two light sources: the white LED light for traffic safety under the fixture, and the color-changing light that is inside. The white LED is connected to the sensors, so the light can be dimmed when there is no one around, and it will light up when a car, bike or person passes by.
Furthermore we tested the shapes we want to use to create an atmosphere that reminds of a room in a house.
More people showed up than we expected! Present were some fellow students from the MediaLAB Amsterdam, many workers and representatives of the municipality of Almere, and of course the people that live in the street. First our coach Marnix did an introduction about our team and explained the goal of the Light Challenge. Then we explained where the idea of the Streethouse Lighting concept came from and how our product exactly works. To end the presentation, Meindersma from the municipality told about the enthousiasm of the city of Almere to participate in innovative projects like ours.
When our light turned on, we were really surprised by the effect. You can see it in the picture:
Last week we’ve been really busy with the crafting and final designs of our concept. Finally everything is coming together!
During out visit, we also checked the Kijlstra reflective stones that we want to use to represent the perimeter of the “rooms” on the ground.
Finally, these last days we went to the Hogeschool van Amsterdam workplace in the¬†Leeuwenburg building to fix the base for the Philips Hue bulb.
We want to thank all our partners for the help¬†received during these weeks, and we hope the final prototype meets the expectations of all of you.
To create a prototype, it is important to gather as much information as possible about the companies that might helps us with the materials and the production. We travelled to different companies to explain our concept, our ideas for the design of it and then asked for feedback and their ideas for bringing our concept into reality.
Some of us went to the HIG company,¬†in Bodegraven. We asked about their ideas for illuminous compound that we can place on objects, to make the shapes that remind of a living room.
Two of us went to Luminext in Doorn, to ask about sensors that we want to place in our concept.¬†Apart from the sensor technology, they provided us with much inspiration for other elements we could add to our concept, ¬†to make the light more interactive with the people.
We visited the winner of the Light Challenge of 2011, Filiz Zorluer, and the company that she works at ¬†that is called Tvilight.¬†Together we brainstormed about some ways to improve our original concept. During this brainstorm session we thought about making the concept more interactive with the residents and making it more sustainable.
Furthermore, some of us went to Waalwijk to visit the company of Lightronics.¬†They showed us the designs that they are using for innovating street light, and we tried to figure out how we could use parts of this design in our street light fixture.
To see the effect of the combination of white LEDs and colored LEDs we made a first prototype. It consists of a fixture and a pole that we got from a company specialized in outdoor design of light. Inside we put a Philips HUE Lamp, a wireless lighting system that allows you to control the color of the light in the bulb via your computer. With this technology we can try out all the variations that are possible in the color spectrum. With the computer program you can just type a code and via a wireless network the light will immediately respond and shine the desired color.¬†We bought some separate white LEDs at the Ikea, and we put them under the fixture. The idea is that the white LEDs are there to provide traffic safety, for example for bikers, to make sure they have good vision while riding through the street. The colored LEDs that are inside the fixture are to create a mood light, via soft color tints. The combination of the white LEDs and the colored LEDs will look something like this:
We went to Radio Kootwijk to present our concept to the other teams. When we arrived at the radio station we were impressed by the big building called ‘Building A’. From 1917 until 1966 the building was used to regulate the communication between The Netherlands and the colony of Indonesia. The building is situated somewhere in De Veluwe. The reason that the government chose this area is that there aren’t any factors that could disturb the radio frequencies, like airplanes and electronic devices.
The presentation was not held in Building A, but in a smaller building next to it. Present were not only the other teams that participate in the Light Challenge, but also the jury, the teamcoaches, municipality workers and a lot of representatives of companies specialised in public lighting. The idea was that after each presentation the jury and the students could both ask one question to the team. After the presentations there were two feedback moments with different parties, like the coaches from other teams and interested companies. After the feedback moments we finished the meeting ¬†with a drink and ¬†an exchange of ideas about our concept.
The feedback moments were very productive for us. Different suggestions were made to improve our fixture, lighting system and the sensors. To mention just one of the questions that was asked about the colored LEDs: where are you going to place the LED in your fixture? When you put them on the bottom you can place mirrors or aluminium in the top so that the light reflects and then goes down. Like this you can decide how big you want the mirror to be, and by that decide the reflection of the light. The negative point is that you loose about 20% of the light because of the mirror. When you put the LEDs in the top of the armature the light shines down, but it might be more difficult to install. Also some questions were asked about the design of the white LEDs that we want to use as the safety light. We want to place the LEDs underneath the lamp, but how are we going to shape this? How much LEDs do we need and it what kind of form? All these feedback questions were very useful for the improvement of our concept and the production of a prototype.
During the third meeting with the residents of the Agavestraat we showed a presentation of our final concept. Our goal of this meeting was to get to know what the residents, our coach and the contact persons of the municipality thought of our concept and what kind of feedback they can give. To discover that we used the ‘shine & grow’ method: everyone writes on sticky paper what they find positive and negative about the final concept and after that we put all ideas together on one big paper. Then the different ideas must be categorized depending on their content: for example, suggestions to improve our aesthetic design,¬†suggestions for the technical production¬†and suggestions for extra elements we could add have to be placed together so we can structure the feedback. To include a more ¬†interactive part with the residents we printed photos of the street with some illustrations of our concept in it, and asked the people to draw on it what they would like to add and what they would like to change. We told that we have a final concept but that this doesn’t mean that it’s finished yet. Feedback from communication with the residents is always useful when rethinking a concept over and over again.
After the visit to the Tendris factory we went to the city hall of Almere.¬†Three presentations were held there. The first one was from the mayor of Almere, Annemarie Jorritsma. She told about the plans of Almere to become a more sustainable and green city, that really makes the people feel at ease. There are a lot of ethnic groups in the city with different cultures and interests, so the politics and the architecture of the city have the challenge to make all these different people have a good living quality in Almere.
Some projects were mentioned, like the art project of Studio Roosengaarde that consists of objects that glow in the dark and make a noise when people come close to it. Also a lot of street lights are being replaced by more efficient LED that can shine a specific color and set the mood of an area.
Above you can see a map that can be used to determine the direction of architecture and urban planning. Some people have wild plans for the future of our country’s youngest city, as we saw in the last presentation.
We were surprised when we saw a picture of ourselves in our own meeting with the people in Almere. The mayor was explaining that to determine your goal, you need to work together with the users of the city. In the end, it’s their living environment so as a politician, architect or urban designer you need to listen to their wishes and needs.
this complicated graphic shows all the factors that are important when talking about sustainability on planet earth. The conclusion is simple: we consume too much to keep on surviving in the future. Street light is an example of where you can begin to make our energy system more sustainable. How can we fight the light pollution that we currently have? Related to this, the second presentation was about a project in Cambodja were they wanted to make a light system for the ¬†villagers. They work together intensively with the people and they asked them what their routines are during the night time. By using this information they designed a lamp that they could hang around their neck with a chord. This way the villagers always carried their own personal light, and this way you don’t need to put street lights everywhere that also illuminate when not necessary. This is project avoids light pollution in a sustainable way.
The third presentation was from Jeroen Zuidgeest, an architect who really has a passion for sustainable and ecological green projects. He showed us some ideas in which architecture and nature melt together and become one. For example in this picture, that is a combination of gardens and an apartment building. Imagine what Almere could look like when the ‘Almere Floriade’ is realised: a not yet existing park that contains all kinds of gardens and buildings combined together. The pictures in the presentation contained a lot of inspiration for the public lighting concepts that are worked on in the Light Challenge.