Light installation by Rita Kriege with Lightpanel iso

© axis GmbH & Co. KG

Between light fog and transparency

If a colorfully illuminated surface can turn into a transparent panel at the touch of a button, then a special lighting technology is in play: Lightpanel iso. A core made from PLEXIGLAS® LED creates the impressive illumination.

Instead of transparent panels, a streetcar stop in Augsburg uses colorfully illuminated panels to protect waiting passengers from the elements. Unlike other streetcar stops, which are often dreary and cold places, this stop is full of color and life thanks to artist Rita Kriege from Nuremberg. When the “Curved Lines in Cold and Warm Colors” illuminated artwork comes to life, previously invisible lines and curves appear almost three-dimensionally and the panels shine in all colors of the rainbow.

The bright display of lights and colors, which enthralled passengers for the first time in December 2010, was also the world premiere of a new lighting technology: Lightpanel iso. The innovative concept from axis GmbH & Co. KG is not only suitable as an impressive surface light for outdoor applications, but can also be used as a transparent room divider which can turn into an illuminated and colorful privacy screen at the touch of a button or through programming. “The flexibility of applications and the combination of insulating and acrylic glass make the panel unique: It has an even and bright illumination, is both weather- and dust-resistant, and is also scratch-resistant,” says Rüdiger Szak, CEO of axis GmbH & Co. KG. In a joint venture with his brother, Andreas Szak, he markets innovative light solutions under the Designpanel moniker.

Material magic

The secret behind Lightpanel iso is tucked away in the high-quality core of each panel: A sheet of PLEXIGLAS® LED, located between two sheets of scratch-resistant insulating glass, uses RGB LEDs to create the impressive lighting effects. The LED light is fed into the brand acrylic glass via the edges. PLEXIGLAS® LED guarantees even light distribution across the whole surface and the LEDs can be programmed to display different sequences, enabling both color and light intensity, as well as color sequence and transition speed, to be adjusted as desired. “PLEXIGLAS® LED is ideal for our purpose,” explains Szak. “Its high transparency and the lighting distances of several meters provide a wide range of design options.”

When a streetcar stop is turned into a light installation

PLEXIGLAS® LED is ideal for our purpose: Its high transparency and lighting distances of several meters provide a wide range of design options.

Rüdiger Szak
CEO axis GmbH & Co. KG

Robust, elegant and very versatile

As can be seen from the application in Augsburg, Lightpanel iso is robust enough for use in outdoor applications, as the panels are able to resist all expected weather effects and environmental influences. However, the innovative surface light can also be used in diverse interior applications, for example as a room divider, which can be turned into a mood light at the touch of a button, while simultaneously acting as a privacy screen. The use of LEDs as light sources means that the screen can be illuminated in white, monochromatic colors, or changing colors, thus providing large illumination areas and windows with another design dimension. Individual colors and randomly changing color variants can be pre-programmed to suit the user’s mood or the time of year or day.

Light solution for shopfitting

iF Material Design Award

Lightpanel iso won the iF Material Design Award in Gold in 2012. The iF Awards have been presented annually since 1953 by iF Industrie Forum Design e.V. and recognize excellent design in a total of five categories. An international panel of expert judges chooses the winner of the Material Design Award. Evaluation criteria include the degree of innovation, environmental friendliness and development potential.

Lightpanel iso can help bathe a hotel lobby, a trade fair booth or a decorative element in a shop in the corporate colors both subtly and effectively. “When it comes to design, there are almost no limits to what is possible,” emphasizes Szak. Letters or graphical designs can also be engraved on the PLEXIGLAS® LED panel which emits the light and combined with printing techniques, creating surprising effects – as is the case for the installation by Rita Kriege in Augsburg. The engraved lines then shine particularly brightly, while printed areas appear more radiant or even change color when illuminated. Lightpanel iso is clearly not an “off the rack” product, as Szak indicates, but “basically always a prototype,” with which art and individual light design concepts can be implemented.