Philips Illuminates New York City

The following blog post was written by Debora Almeida from Philips Color Kinetics.

The lighting industry’s best and brightest products will be on display at Lightfair International (LFI), the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show. Held in New York City May 3-7, LFI will be a hub of innovation and creativity. Numerous Philips Lighting products will be on display at booth #1207, but taking a walk around the city can be an even better way to see Philips Lighting products in action.

Barclays after Philips LED lighting upgrade. (All photos courtesy of Philips)


Barclays has been in business for over 300 years, but when the company wanted to rebrand its American headquarters in the heart of Times Square in New York City, it turned to the most cutting-edge technology in lighting: LEDs.

The objective for the Barclays branding project was to create a “lantern” effect on the Manhattan nighttime skyline using the Barclays corporate blue color. The design also called for incorporating the Barclays name in channel lettering and the Barclays eagle logo on all four sides of the building. During the day, the lantern walls remain white. At dusk, they begin to slowly transition to Barclays corporate blue. Simultaneously, the channel letters transition from blue to white.


Target Interactive Breezeway at Rockefeller Center lit up with Philips blue LED lights.

Target Interactive Breezeway at Rockefeller Center

High atop New York’s Rockefeller Center is a unique, interactive space that takes the capabilities of intelligent LED lighting to new creative heights.

Conceptualized by Los Angeles-based design and architecture firm Electroland, LLC, the Target Interactive Breezeway is an imaginatively lit passage that connects the Center’s top-floor observation decks. Its intention is to engage visitors as they pass through by tracing their movement with intelligently controlled light. How better to achieve this ambitious concept than with LEDs?

The designers employed an elaborate tracking system that takes advantage of precisely controllable lighting systems from Philips Color Kinetics for a truly immersive and interactive environment. Data from four stereo video cameras is combined to locate and individually track up to 30 separate visitors as they enter and walk around the space. Upon entry, each visitor is automatically assigned a “personality” by the 3-D tracking system, and is in turn followed by individualized light colors and patterns.


The iconic Con Edison tower  in New York City transformed with LED lights.

Con Edison

Who better to demonstrate the impact of energy-efficient LED lighting than Con Edison – the utility that’s been supplying energy to power New York City for more than 180 years?

In September 2008, Con Edison re-lit its iconic headquarters tower with an intelligent LED system from Philips Color Kinetics – cutting its former energy consumption while simultaneously enabling vibrant, color-changing effects that are a hallmark of the Manhattan skyline. Previously, the tower had been lit by traditional high intensity discharge (HID) lighting, which required colored filters to display effects for holidays and special occasions. By contrast, the new fixtures combine digital control technology with red, green and blue LED lights to generate millions of colors and dynamic effects.

The installation proves that urban lighting can be both beautiful and environmentally responsible.


FAO Schwarz flagship store on New York city showcases awesome smart LED ceiling lighting.

FAO Schwarz

As far as famous ceilings go, the Sistine Chapel may top the list. Ranking a close second? The remarkably illuminated ceiling at FAO Schwarz’s flagship store on New York City’s 5th Avenue. Imaginatively desgined by Focus Lighting, Inc.-NYC and The Rockwell Group, the store’s ceiling was transformed into a digital canvas for artistic expression with Color Kinetics intelligent LED lighting technology.

Each LED node is individually addressable for the creation of intricate, dynamic light shows. The ceiling’s design was intended to inspire creativity and capture imagination while educating children through themes such as color wheels and geometric shapes. The sequences range from moving patterns and shapes to images of art scrolling across the field of LED lights.

The end result is a digital artwork for the ages.


Madison Square Garden lit up with dynamic LED lights.

Madison Square Garden

The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has added a dynamic exterior LED lighting system to The World’s Most Famous Arena from the world leader in lighting, Philips. The connected LED lighting system can reflect the home teams’ colors and highlight special events by creating visual effects on the façade of the arena. The lights communicate which home teams’ games or events are taking place at the The Garden and help create a sense of excitement in the surrounding area.

MSG added the connected LED lighting system to the exterior cove channels of the building, as well as the roof ring at the top.  MSG opted to replace the previous lighting system with an energy-efficient LED solution from Philips that changes colors in real time, runs customized lighting designs, and includes a cloud-based, real-time monitoring system for diagnostics. With this new system, maintenance teams can be alerted instantly of outages in any of the 1,952 fixtures. In addition, because the system is LED and offers very precise beam angles, light is focused where it is needed on the building and does not spill into the night sky, eliminating light pollution.


The New York City skyline works as the perfect backdrop for colorful and forward thinking LED lighting. For more examples of Philips Color Kinetics installations, check out our interactive map of NYC.

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