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CoeLux Lighting – this artificial skylight is so real it can transform a dungeon into a palace


An enterprising Italian company has come up with a product that could transform the way we live, by opening up dark gloomy spaces in an amazing way. The trick lies in making artificial sunlight seem incredibly real using some very clever technology and materials. Suddenly your dreary basement den can be as beautifully welcoming as a rooftop dormer loft conversion, and all year round too.

The CoeLux lighting system is a rectangular panel which fits into a ceiling or wall, and gives the effect of a normal window facing out onto a clear blue, sun filled, sky. The experience goes way beyond traditional fake windows because it is actually as though you are being bathed in sunlight. The developers have managed to create this ‘magical‘ result by mimicking the way the real sky operates.


The inventor, Professor Paolo Di Trapani of the University of Como, Italy, has come up with a way of reproducing the light scatter effect which creates a natural blue sky. In nature a blue sky is caused by the refraction of light bouncing off our atmosphere, and the Professor’s company has managed to re-create that using nanoparticles suspended in a panel a few millimeters thick, and a bright LED lamp arrangement.


The system at the moment is passive, in that it doesn’t change as the day progresses, but the company plans to develop a more advanced system in the future which will give a dynamic effect, as though the sun is traveling across the sky during a normal day. Right now you can buy three versions of the product, one which mimics a tropical light, a Mediterranean vista and a Nordic lightscape via a wall window rather than a roof panel.


As well as offering a sun filled feel for murky residential spaces, the company is actively courting official environments, such as hospitals, retail premises and hotels where space is at a premium, and where delivering a more open experience to an artificially lit room can really add value. The photo above illustrates a radiosurgery room in a Milan hospital, where the effect helps to de-stress patients as they undergo their therapy.

The technology is currently not cheap. These early systems cost around £40,000, plus another £3000 or so for installation. But when you consider the way this could transform architecture and our living spaces in the future – Professor Trapani talks about earthscrapers as a viable alternative to today’s skyscrapers – it’s clear that this is a technology which has a lot to offer the world in every way.


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