SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2010 > Lighting


Crystal Clear Brilliance

In the Swarovski boutique at Rockefeller Center in New York City, several display cases have been equipped with an innovative lighting system from SCHOTT.

Dr. Gabriele Reinartz

New York City is always worth a visit. Especially just before Christmas, when everyone takes to the shopping centers to look for presents. Everyone in this city with a population of eight million seems to be in a hurry. But peace and quiet temporarily sweeps in, at least in Manhattan, on one of the first days of December. On this day, a cluster of people gathers at the Lower Plaza of the Rockefeller Center to celebrate a tradition that goes back 80 years: the acting mayor flips the switch for the festive lighting on the largest Christmas tree in the United States.

30,000 lights suddenly make the 20-meter high Norway spruce shine in beautiful colors. The top of the tree is beautified by a Swarovski star that consists of 25,000 crystals with one million facets. Its diameter of nearly 2.90 meters and thickness of half a meter probably belong in the record books too. It was created by the German artist Michael Hammers in 2004.
The lighting systems used here are known for their long lifespans, low power consumption and the extremely attractive way in which they illuminate the crystals on display. Photo: SCHOTT
Several of Swarovski’s display cases at the Rockefeller Plaza will also be shining in new splendor. The company known for its luxurious, world-renowned crystal fashion opened one of its flagship boutiques here. The company decided to upgrade the lighting in many of its display cases and opted for products from its long-time business partner SCHOTT North America.

“Here, the goal was to illuminate the jewelry well from all sides and, at the same time, lower the maintenance costs for Swarovski,” explains Robert Hughes, Lighting Sales Manager for architectural applications in the U.S. At the same time, they were keen to find an environmentally-friendly solution. The customer ­decided in favor of the new hybrid LED lighting system that consists of a combination of the SCHOTT Spectra™ LED Light Source 100W and tried-and-tested SCHOTT SpectraFlex® fiber optic components.

The advantages that this innovative system offers are obvious. To start with, these 100 watt LED light sources have a service life of 50,000 hours, in other words, even if they were to remain on for 15 hours a day, 365 days of the year, they wouldn’t have to be changed for nine years. Secondly, they have a Color Rendering Index of greater than 90. Thirdly, they can be focused in a wide angle manner to illuminate the crystals from multiple ­directions, thanks to the fiber optic lighting harnesses. Finally, despite the fact that they deliver the same luminosity as traditional discharge lamps, they consume up to 40 percent less power.

“Now, the employees of Swarovski can focus on serving their customers again, because they don’t have to worry about replacing burned out lights and removing dust from the display cases,” Hughes says. “The LEDs produce less heat, therefore there is also less dust movement,” he adds.

Like the lights inside the display cases, the lights on the Christmas tree are also LEDs, which now means they compete for attention with the Swarovski crystals.
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