On January 2, state-of-the-art lighting technology featuring 40,000 LEDs will illuminate the 5,100 sq-m glass facade of the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria, to celebrate the opening of the exhibition, New Views of Humankind. This innovative facade illumination was planned and installed by Multivision, a Marchtrenk-based firm founded in 2002.
The LED facade lighting installation is the largest of its kind in Europe. The energy required to power it in normal nightly operation is 3-5 kilowatts. In contrast to fluorescent bulbs, the LEDs operate at full output even at very low temperatures. The reduced energy costs as well as lower expenses for repairs and maintenance yield an estimated annual savings of €38,000.
The LED strips built into one side of 1,100 of the glass facade’s panels are 20-120 cm long. A strip’s cross-section is 30 x 45 mm; each is studded with 20-48 high-output LEDs. The 40,000 diodes are split equally between red, green, blue and white. Soldered onto printed circuit boards, the individual LEDs are a 2.4 x 4.5 mm at their base and 2 mm high. Mounted on each diode is a special 22 x 22-mm lens that casts the light onto the glass panels. Each of the 1,100 LED strips can be individually controlled by an electronic unit that makes it possible to fine-tune brightness and the color mix.
Saved to memory on the lighting system’s master computer is a repertoire of patterns that can be applied to the Museum of the Future’s facade at night. Special artistic effects and new patterns can be created from scratch on the computer. A unique feature of the technology being utilized in Linz is the possibility of producing a pure white. With it, the AEC can be transformed at the push of a button into a “white crystal.”