Enhanced complexities of today’s architecture need more signage hanging from the ceiling or pasted on walls to show buildings’ occupants or visitors the right direction. Noting this, what if researchers found innovative way to easily guide people on their own to respective destination spots within the building or help easily evacuate the space in case of an emergency to help save 100s of 1000s lives. All thanks to the tiny lighting wonders that made it possible to design.
Nonetheless, in the innovative buildings of tomorrow, live information streams would play a key role. From ‘ticker-tape’ news updates in offices to dynamic content in luxury hotels – all would keep vying for new ways to create unique customer experiences. Take for instance an office building, whether purpose-built for open plan use or designed for rental purposes, today’s office buildings are increasingly being occupied by a migratory, flexible workforce. In such a scenario, simply for identifying who, what and where, requires more signage than normally needed, which leads to clutter.
Keeping all this in view, two different technologies came together to develop Luminous Carpets™, which can rebrand an office in seconds, showing company logos or identifying people’s workspaces. The important thing is that by limiting information to the floor, wall spaces are kept simple, uncluttered and attractive. Other possibilities include counting down the minutes to the end of a meeting, updating visitors on current waiting times, and displaying personal greetings to important guests.
The uniquely smart technology
It’s all about bringing the brightest ideas to life when Luminous Carpets combine especially developed Philips Lighting LED technology with resilient but luxurious looking Desso carpet. The result is a durable, stylish flooring solution that can be used to greet, impress and inform the walkers in new and exciting ways. For innovators, this opens up a world of exciting possibilities – right from pointing out safety exits and giving people directions or information, to creating a fully immersive experience that inspires occupants and visitors alike.
While the concept is simple, the technology is advanced. Philips claims that extra care has been taken in the development of this solution so as to match the specific needs of the target locations, without disrupting essential processes like cleaning of the floor. For example, latest generation Philips LEDs emitting any colour are built into units with the appropriate protection against the spilling of fluids. These LEDs are then combined with robust quality Desso carpets, which are specially developed for the purpose.
The end result is a unique combination of elements in the form of Luminous Carpets, the success of which depends on the expertise of the installers as it requires special skills. The solution has been designed to fit seamlessly into the modern architecture that too without disrupting essential processes, like floor cleaning. These Carpets can easily be installed into any flooring space and get connected to the contemporary smart electrical & IT infrastructure. This can further be in sync with the building management system to run pre-programmed light displays. Alternatively, the lights can be programmed on-demand from tablet and any other networked devices.
Installation made easy
There are three different installation possibilities, depending on floor type. They are easy to install on top of the raised access floors commonly found in offices, and can be recessed or routed into the concrete floors. Locations can be installed using an underlay that keeps the tiles flush with non-lit floor areas.
For all three options the carpet is installed on top of the LED units, so that it remains flush with the non-lit floor area. Keeping the LEDs separate from and below the carpet gives designers more flexibility and also makes for easy maintenance and replacement, since the carpet is likely to be replaced more quickly than the LED units which should last for at least 20 years.
For those interested in this trade, the company would help prepare the location, design and install the system with select partners, and then would link it to the existing or new systems. Besides, it will also provide on-the-job training to your people. Going forward, over the lifetime of the installation, the company can set up a service agreement.
What makes the conjunction?
Specially developed carpets
The light transmissive carpet tile developed by Desso has been given a further engineered version of EcoBase™ carpet backing. A unique light transmissive backing allows the LED light to pass through, and replaces traditional backings. Unlike bitumen (which is a waste product of the oil industry) the composition is consistent and so recyclable – up to 400 times in Desso’s own Refinity plant. And soft PVCs (which can contain high levels of reprotoxic phthalate plasticisers), the materials are benign.
The Econyl yarn is made from 100% regenerated nylon from used carpet tiles and fishing nets. Four carpet textures are initially available from Desso’s standard range: Stratos, Pure, Scape and Flow. There are fourteen neutral, contemporary colours available ranging from white and creams to mochas and greys. There is a choice of four textures with further product and shade options in development.
The tiles meet norms for dimensional stability and flatness to ensure a tight-fitting broadloom all-over effect throughout the carpet’s lifetime. The carpets integrated within a subfloor to give a completely flat surface, with the cables being routed through ducting and panels.
Patented LED technology
The super thin LED panels and lights have been created using the latest LED technology. Together with the light transmissive carpet tiles, this patented solution is unique in the market. Installed underneath the carpet tiles, the LEDs are built into enclosed units that are strong enough to be walked on while still protecting against spillages without overheating. Producing a bright, sharp light in any colour, they are entirely hidden from view when switched off – unlike LED strips on, for instance, airplanes.
Underneath it all The LC Grid is a metal casing with 1024 high intensity LEDs especialy designed for floormounting indoors and ready to be covered by light transmissive carpet tiles. The 1024 LEDs can be adressed separately, which makes it possible to display static and scrolling text on the panel.
The LC Grid panel can be installed in a concrete floor with a special floorbox mounted in the routed concrete. The LC Grid panel can also be installed in a raised access floor.
Philips and Desso Luminous Carpets™ can be controlled in different ways. The content can be pre-programmed so it can run for longer periods; ideal for branding and other more permanent information like emergency path marking. Linking the Luminous Carpets™ to a building management system is also a possibility, since the units work with either Art-Net or KiNet protocol with input from external systems.
Some applications require more flexibility, even to the point that you may want to change the content on the spot. Combining Luminous Carpets™ with control software on a laptop or iPad is also possible. Change the text, the name or choose different content, without complex programming.
By choosing to use existing protocols and components we can now offer a range of possibilities to suit most applications. In addition, every customer has access to the extensive experience and broad portfolio of Philips Lighting.
How it works…
Suddenly, Carpets turn responsive
Undoubtedly, innovative and smartly-operated active buildings would set the trend in fusing form and function. Opening up unique new ways to make commercial and public buildings more efficient and enhance the lives of the people using them.
Coming together of Philips and Desso Luminous CarpetsTM has brought forward a solution that adds an exciting new dimension to the interiors of corporate spaces like offices, banks, conference centers, hotels, etc. The carpets are illuminated in such a way to keep people updated with important and useful information.
The small size of LEDs made it possible to get them placed on carpets so as to inspire people by directing them quickly and intuitively to other parts of a building. Even, these lights help evacuate guests and staff safely in an emergency.
The Tasks That These Carpets Are Made To Perform
Direct people intuitively
In unfamiliar buildings, be it contemporary or future, simply finding ways are hard. People keep wandering around for quite some time while trying to locate an elevator, meeting or conference room, restaurant, hotel room, toilet or even the exit. Once these specially developed carpets with illuminated tools for route marking are installed, people get naturally guided by what they see on the floor.
With colour-coding and smart controls, the carpets can direct visitors without allowing the space to be cluttered. In open-plan offices and creative workspace designs they put an end to all the wandering round looking for somewhere to meet. They can indicate whether multi-purpose rooms and workplaces are free or occupied. And in hotel rooms, they can provide guests with unobtrusive stumble lights.
Give people an immersive experience
Innovative building design is bringing new materials and new ideas to offices and hospitality buildings. Luminous CarpetsTM bring immersive design element wherein colours can change depending on the area’s function, and time of day or time of year. Independent research shows that different types of light can have a fundamental effect on human/people’s moods, and can help enhance productivity and creativity. To all this, Luminous Carpets can help take advantage of that where the carpet panels can be used to show versatile and dynamic patterns, inspirational text, and even videos.
Guide people to safety
Fast evacuation is particularly difficult from complex buildings with open-plan offices, even when following safety codes. Dynamic path marking is starting to become a requirement for real-time responses in an emergency. Already mandatory in Shanghai, this is increasingly being discussed in Germany and elsewhere.
Luminous CarpetsTM can easily and clearly point to emergency equipment, and can help evacuating buildings at a rather faster speed. They can instantly give clear dynamic emergency path marking through even complex pathways. Unlike LED strips on airplanes, they even allow for an element of surprise when lit.
Signs on the floor to guide are a must
Today, the emergency path marking signs are normally located high up on walls, on ceilings and above emergency exit doors, which are obscured by rising smoke during a fire leaving people directionless. Thus the purposeful signs become useless exactly when they are most needed.
This is why, low markings are made mandatory in airplanes and cruise ships, and several US states now also demand Low Egress Path marking in buildings of six stories and above. Luminaires or glow-in-the-dark strips are often placed at floor level, but these can themselves be easily obscured. They can be ugly, too, cluttering the clean design lines favoured by architects and building/interior designers.