Lighting: 3M Architectural Markets: Lightfalls

3M Architectural Markets made its debut in the lighting market this year with dramatic new products including Lightfalls, designed by Todd Bracher. A modular architectural lighting system, Lightfalls distributes light from a single LED source over a surface to create a virtual LED field driven by 3M technology. The key to enabling the virtual LED is a proprietary multilayer 3M optical film with more than 98-percent reflectivity that efficiently steers the light of a single LED from one module to another. The final effect creates the image of multiple LED bulbs when in reality there is only one. In each of the photos above, the majority of reflectors, or modules, do not have an LED bulb behind them; they are merely evenly distributing light from the single module that actually is concealing an LED to other modules along the wall.

In the design process, once the appropriate 3M film was identified and selected, Bracher says, “I started to sketch reflectors that would bounce light from one place to another; a sort of clover that was repopulating the light from a single source. And herein lies the beauty of working with 3M: The company has staff engineers, physicists, and optical engineers who were able to take my drawings and realize them via software to calculate the perfect optical reflector that achieved the result I was looking for.”

Lightfalls is designed to be applied in linear or circular arrays, or a combination thereof. The LED is split in half by the module, which sends the light in two paths. The system works by aligning these paths, leaving a beautiful wash effect as it goes along. In a 40-foot wall installation, only two LED lights are needed.

This is the start of Bracher’s collaboration with 3M. Lightfalls is expected to be commercially available by the end of the year in a variety of sizes, colors, and wall or ceiling applications.

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