Tree of light

Singapore, 27th February 2014

The tree is a very natural element of landscape, something we are all familiar with. It is also one of the most mal-treated objects when it comes to lighting. There are very little people that really know how to light a tree properly. It is even more difficult when you have to design the lighting from a plan. In other words you have a landscape layout showing where the trees are, with an approximate description (generally also with a picture of the mature tree) to give you the feel of the tree. The problem is that hardly ever will the tree be planted as a mature tree, generally it is just a 1 or 2 year old “sprout” straight from a nursery. Only after years will you see the actual tree in its full beauty. But yet we have to design to the future.

At least with an image we know whether it is to be a canopy tree, a palm or an ever-green type, as this gives us the direction from which position to light the tree and what will create the best effect. There are designers who feel compelled to put lights all around the tree so that the tree is visually lit from whatever angle you look at it. Not my style…first of all lighting is also about what not to light and creating light and shadows to accentuate shapes, forms and textures; secondly it seems wasteful in both energy, spill light and not to forget cost of installation. Less is more in this case.

Why am I talking about lighting trees…it just happens that we are in the middle of developing the landscape lighting concept in one of our projects and invariably the lighting of trees is part of it. The challenge now is too understand if and how we could use the LED technology to create our lighting effects. I am still adjusting to the conversion and struggle to understand how well (or not) the LED will be able to achieve what we want. Reading the photometric data in the catalogue is not all-clarifying as LED lighting behaves a bit differently…

Light Watch 5-32: There are many ways to light a tree, from conventional tree up-lighting, to moon lighting and introducing colours…

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27. February 2014 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and sustainability, lighting applications, lighting design | Leave a comment

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