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  •   A.C. Special Projects LED Lighting is at the Centre of the Cell

A.C. Special Projects LED Lighting is at the Centre of the Cell

13th October 2009

A.C. Special Projects Ltd. has supplied a cutting edge LED lighting system for Centre of the Cell, a unique interactive science education centre. Located at Queen Mary, University of London, one of the UK's leading research focused higher education institutions, the Centre is the first in the world to be based within a working bio-medical research laboratory.

The Centre offers children and teenagers a fascinating insight into what scientists actually do and how their work influences real life, through a series of exciting interactive games. Visitors can try their hand at virtual experiments, observe real body parts and diagnose disease using high-power microscopes. This combination of digital technologies and real-world science creates a science education experience not available in the classroom or anywhere else in the world.

Centre of the Cell is designed by Land Design Studio and lit by David Atkinson Lighting Design (DALD). The education centre is housed inside a giant orange ‘pod’ suspended within the atrium of the RIBA award winning glass Blizard Building, designed by SMC Alsop and Amec. Visitors approach the pod via a colourful glass walkway and, as they enter, look down on the scientists working in the building’s vast subterranean laboratory.

The lighting design brief for the interior of the ’pod’ was not only based upon it being dynamic and immersive but with energy conservation and sustainability as a major requirement. With these criteria in mind, A.C. Special Projects was approached to supply an energy saving, cutting edge LED system that would enhance the ‘pod’s’ atmospherics.

Once inside the ‘pod’, the immersive quality is created through the use of RGB LED wash lights positioned at high level above the space to wash the central ‘nucleus’ in saturated hues of colour. For the ‘nucleus’ itself, a powerful audiovisual display that introduces the visitors to cells, A.C. custom designed RGB LED spotters which are recessed into the intersecting node points of the exterior. The spotter units are DMX controlled, which allows for variable programmed sequences to help animate the ‘nucleus’ structure.

Suspended above the space, four circular projection screens are back lit with flexible RGB LED strips, which help to add depth and an additional floating dimension to the space.

Around the perimeter of the space, flip seats are under lit by concealed fibre optics heads, which are fed by DMX controlled metal halide projectors. Incorporated above the seating are edge lit acrylic panelled showcases and touch screen monitors, which are revealed by varying the intensity and colour of the acrylic panels. The showcases house parts of the human anatomy and are lit by recessed LED fixtures.

The lighting has been pre programmed for the various sequences onto a DMX replay unit, which in turn is triggered by the audiovisual show control system.

By utilising LED and metal halide light sources, the lighting design has adhered closely to the energy conservation and sustainability requirement with a minimum lighting load of 1.2kW and maximum 3kW.

The lighting design for Centre of the Cell helps tie all of the interactivity and audiovisual elements together, helping to make this a most inspiring visitor experience.

David Atkinson Lighting Design (DALD) won the Lighting Design Awards 2010 'Low Carbon' Award for the project.

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