In what is likely the northernmost dynamic lighting installation in the world, and certainly one of the most unique, Martin Professional Exterior 400 luminaires are used to simulate the rhythm of natural daylight on an historic building on the island of Svalbard in the north Atlantic.
Located just outside the town of Longyearbyen (the world’s most northerly settlement with a population greater than 1,000) lays an old mining station owned by Norwegian coal mining company Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani. The building is a Norwegian cultural historic landmark and was once used to transfer coal from mines in the surrounding hills down to the harbor.
From dark into the light
Located at 78 degrees north latitude, Longyearbyen lacks sunlight for almost four months of the year and during that winter period the town’s most conspicuous building disappeared beneath a blanket of total darkness. Consequently, Tor-Gunnar “Gusche” Stokke of Stokkan Lys in Trondheim was contacted to create a lighting scheme that would release the building from its winter obscurity.
Gusche chose the Martin Professional Exterior 400 RGBW LED wash light to simulate natural sunlight onto the building, complete with the color temperature changes that would normally occur from dawn to dusk. Beginning at 6:15 am in a subtle moonlight blue, a natural color of light for that environment, light then morphs into a cold bright white by mid-day before ending in a late evening orange at 11:00 pm.
“There are a lot of important features of the Exterior 400 that made it the best fixture for this installation,” Gusche says. “The high quality and robustness of the fixture plus the flexibility of the color change were important. Also the ability to regulate spread angles is useful.”
The Exterior 400 fixtures are mounted onto wooden poles that have been hammered into the ground (no need for concrete in a permafrost environment) and stand about 10 meters from the building. The fixtures withstand an Arctic tundra climate of wind, rain, snow and sleet with an average high temperature of -13 C in February and -30 to -40 C not uncommon.
Inside the building, IP66-rated Martin Tripix Wash™ LED luminaires are used to simulate activity within the station during working hours. For example, besides simulating light through the windows, early in the morning the Tripix Wash’s strobe to simulate someone entering the building and flipping on a light switch. The lighting fixtures, supplied by Stokkan Lys and installed by J.M. Hansen, are controlled via a PC-based Martin M-PC™ lighting controller with Mx Manager.
Installed just after Christmas, the lighting system runs every day except in the lighter months of April to September.