LED Lighting So Brilliant It's in an Art Museum

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By Heather Corcoran / Published by Dwell
A world-class art museum looking to present its collection in the best light possible calls upon a Texas tech startup.

When the Art Institute of Chicago needed a lighting plan for its newly reinstalled galleries, the designers at Lightswitch Architectural decided to lead the museum to LED. But finding the bulb that best matched the museum's current halogen plan—while showing off the priceless collection in all its true colors—was no easy task. 

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Ketra's A20 lamp is a fully tunable, calibrated light source that ranks high on the color rendering index for its white, pastels, and saturated colors. It can dim to .1 percent—unlike other LED lighting, which usually dims to 5 percent, says Ketra CEO Nav Sooch.

"In the art world, the concentration is generally on high color rendering, which LED can do well," explains Lightswitch partner Avraham Mor. "However, the question is, how do we optimize color temperature? We were looking for an LED solution that would give us flexibility in temperature without sacrificing exceptional color rendering." The designers tested a number of LED sources from different manufacturers by building side-by-side mock-ups illuminating four works by French painter Claude Monet—an artist known precisely for his lifelong study of the optical effects of light. 

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“We have been tracking the development of LED for some time, but we had not found a product that showed the art to its best effect at an affordable price,” says Chief Operating Officer of the Art Institute of Chicago David Thurm. “Ketra now makes it possible for us to shift to LEDs. We were impressed by the quality of the light and the ability of the LED to self-correct to avoid a degradation of quality over time. Economically, it also makes a difference that we can use our existing fixtures without modification.”

The unanimous winner? Austin-based premium LED lighting brand Ketra. Click the slides to find out why.

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In high-end residential applications, Ketra's dynamic system can mirror the patterns of natural light and the body's circadian rhythms.

 

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In the home, users can controll their lighting through the fully programmable and customizable X1 touchpad, complete with preset lighting arrangements for various occasions.

 

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The Ketra Design Studio software allows users to program all aspects of their lighting system, from color and intensity settings to preset scenes and shows.

 

  

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