Skylight Simulates Tropical, Nordic And Mediterranean Sunlight
This simulated sky was over 10 years in development and the brainchild of Professor Paolo Di Trapani, coordinator of the project and a physicist at the University of Insubria in Como, Italy. The CoeLux system relies upon a sophisticated optical system projecting a high intensity LED source (the ‘sun’) onto a millimeters-thick layer of nano-structured material of varying densities. This diffuses and transmits the lightwaves in the exact same way that sunlight reaches us by way of the atmosphere. This is known as the Rayleigh scattering phenomenom and is what makes the sky blue. The effect is a stunning recreation of the sensation of genuine sunlight compared to a typical full spectrum light technique without the atmospheric scattering formulated in.
The reason that CoeLux is so convincing, is that it recreates the natural phenomenon of a sunlit sky, rather than just trying to imitate it. It does this by housing the LED lightsource 1m away from the diffuser. With the clever use of optics, a greater distance is perceived.
There are 3 possibilities to select from—the CoeLux 30, CoeLux 45, and the CoeLux 60 – each designed to mimic sky conditions in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Tropics.
According to Dr Paolo Di Trapani, “With COELUX, you can experience sunny skies anytime, anywhere. Like attempting to describe the scent of a perfume or the colour of a tropical sun, it is challenging to describe COELUX’s uplifting effects due to the perception of infinite space which the technology produces. Certainly, evidence collected in the course of the project has shown that even claustrophobic people really feel happy and relaxed when exposed to COELUX light, regardless of remaining in a windowless room of a couple of square metres for a sustained period of time.”
Obviously designed for spaces that have no natural light, the applications are wide and varied; from underground tunnels, bunkers and mines to hotels, hospitals or people suffering from SAD. The limiting factor of a 1m recess being required will not make it suitable for many existing buildings. However, new construction will allow designers and end users to benefit greatly.
At this moment, dimming is not available and the price tag is extremely high – in the tens of thousands. But the team have been awarded additional funds from the European Union for the research to continue. Other possibilities could include the ability to change the colour of the ‘sky’ or even move the position of the ‘sun’. With such a dynamic product available, it wouldn’t be long before you might find yourself working under an artificial sky. But I wonder….would your body tell the difference?
Written by Julie Allen