Kinetic Light Emitting Wallpaper and Wall Panels

Dutch designer Jonas Samson is lighting the way for vertical surfaces.  He recently announced his newest addition to his product collection: a customizable, animated Light Emitting Wallpaper. (See product stills, below.  All images courtesy of Jonas Samson v.o.f.)

When I saw this product I had a million questions.  Gad Bros, business partner of Jonas Sampson v.o.f.,  was kind enough to answer all of them.  (Thanks Gad!)

Light Emitting Wallpaper is still in the prototype phase. The wall paper is not sold commercially and they expect it to take about 10-15years before there will be a material which will make it possibly to make an wall paper in this size for everybody. 

But don't be sad! Samson already produces a similar product Ecco Luce, a wall panel with integrated LED lights, that is currently on the market. Ecco Lucce is manufactured in The Netherlands, but available all over the world.  (See image, below) 

Ecco Luce is a single panel (120mm x 300 mm) and can be be combined with other Ecco Luce panels. Ecco Luce panels are about 5-6cm and studies are currently underway to reduce the panel thickness.
Panels are available in different finishes (glass, wallpaper, wood veneer), can be built with fire rated components, and can be placed attached to an existing wall or free standing.

Ecco Luce has an on/off switch.  When it is off, it appears to be a normal wall. But when turned on, patterns of light project through the wall.  Panels do not require an additional L.E.D. driver, they include a specially made computer based interface. There is currently a "regular" option but design possibilities include static, dimmable or motion activated images, RGB colors, and remote controlled operation.

Samson believes in products should work without having to hire a technician to install it. Installation is a snap since panels (free standing or wall mounted) are delivered complete.  Wall mounted units only need to be attached to the existing wall and connected to an electrical source. Free standing panel systems come complete with feet and and when they arrive at the job site, you only have to attach it to an electrical contact and assemble it if it is a multiple panel unit.

There are no standard designs. Panels are designed on a custom, project by project basis.  Price will vary based on size, complexity of the animations, finishing materials etc.  Once the design is finalized, lead time from contract to delivery is about 3 months.

Ecco Luce has been successfully installed at an exhibition in Milan.  The next installation is set to debut April 15th at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport train station on April 15th.   If, like me, you won't be able to see the installation in person, check out this animation to see an example Ecco Luce in action.

Free Hi-Res Texture Resources for 2D& 3D Renderings

I love rendering. With markers and pencils or using a computer. But if I had it my way, I would always render plans, elevations, and perspectives using a computer instead of by hand. It takes me just as long to render via computer as it does by hand. And I don't have to make and waste countless copies and start over and over again, as I typically do when rendering with markers. The renderings always looks so crisp and if you practice enough, the results can be photo-realistic. I'm not quite there yet- but I am working on it. You can see from the images of my student work below how I've improved. (Sorry, can't show images from work- don't own the rights!)

Conceptual Elevation rendered w/ markers. (Sophmore Coursework)

Conceptual Elevation. Love how crisp it looks! (Junior Coursework- 1st time I used Pshop to render)

Interior Section & Furniture Design Concepts rendered w/ Photoshop. (Senior Coursework- much better!)

Sometimes I work in 3dsMax, but I plug along until I get to lighting then get frustrated and angry.  So, I prefer to work from Architectural Desktop, export to an .eps file, and then render in Photoshop or Illustrator.   

Most of the time, I snag images from whatever product I plan to specify. But at some point, I end up hunting around the web for a hi-res textures to use as-is or modify. 

Here are my top 10 resources for textures, in alpha order: 

  1. Bittbox is known for their amazing Photoshop brushes, but is also a great source for grungy textures that are great for layering over other images and vectors.  Free textures and vectors are found under the freebies link.  All the textures and vectors are found under the "Freebies" link.  Textures and Vectors are not categorized, so be prepared to dig.  The best way to use this sight is to flip through it when you have some free time and download textures you think may be useful in the future to your personal texture library.
  2. CGTextures. What a lovely site.  At print, textures are divided into 37 main categories, then sorted into sub-folders which makes finding a specific item a snap. For example, the Door category is subdivided into Metal and Wooden.  Metal Doors are further divided into Big, Double, Ornate, Roll up and Single. Wood Doors are divided into Barn, Double, Medieval, Ornate, Paneled, Single New, Single Old.  This is OCD @ it's best!
  3. Defcon X has the best wood texture library EVER.  Thumbnail images of 90 wood textures are shown on one page and sorted alphabetically.  You'll find exotic woods like eucalyptus, bubinga, anigre, and wenge.  All scanned in @ 720 dpi with black and white references. 
  4. Lost and Taken Great vintage wallpaper textures.
  5. LoveTextures boasts 258 hi-res textures.  Textures are sorted into 11 categories. Most of the images of exterior materials.  A great resource for architects who want to render exterior elevations and perspectives.
  6. Texture King is great for exterior architectural materials and grunge textures.  Textures are sorted into categories and the site boasts easy one click downloads.
  7. What Texture Lovers doesn't have in quantity it makes up for in quality. The textures are snagged from other sites, click on the image and the original post and download link will pop-up. (which leads you to other great sources for free textures!)  I use the Clouds and Sky textures a lot.  And I often layer textures from the Fabric category over other images to add more dimension to my renderings.
  8. Texture Warehouse Over 19 categories of textures. Decent tile and glass textures.
  9. Snap2Objects is not a texture site, but a great resource none the less.  When I use people or objects in renderings to give a sense of scale, I prefer to use transparent silhouettes so it does not compete with the design.  Snap2Objects has all kinds of free brushes and vectors that can be used just for that purpose.
  10. Once you set up an account, VisMasters is a breeze to use.  The Exchange textures filled with  section is used and updated by users section is where users can share and download textures. An easy to use search form, and you can drag multiple files into the queue for a single download.  
Bookmark and add these sites to your Interior Designer's Toolbox! And if you are interested in a Photoshop rendering tutorial, let me know via comments. I could work one up for an upcoming post.

    Boxetti Modular Furniture

    Many people focus on the size or square footage of a space instead of focusing on function and smart planning. This especially true in the USA where urban sprawl and McMansions have gobbled up one of our most precious resources, land. In most of the world, space is a limited, precious commodity and most people live in very, very small homes and apartments. An average American home is a mansion in comparison (Seriously. Watch an episode of House Hunters International on HGTV. )

    This is probably why the majority of modular, multi-functional furniture on the market originates for Europe. European designers understand a well thought out space that capitalizes on vertical surfaces, has cleverly designed storage space, and multi-functional furniture allows you to work and live within a smaller footprint. Multi-functional furniture that nests, folds, flips and transforms can be tucked away when not in use which providing more floor space for circulation. Ample storage allows you to organize and hide the clutter that makes a space seem smaller and chaotic.

    I have one word to describe Boxetti, designed by Roland Landsberg: Smart.

    Now that you've seen this, doesn't the idea of living in a studio apartment seem appealing?

    Gearing up for the NCIDQ

    I've been envisioning My Name, IIDA or NCIDQ#123456 on my business cards.  I've been waiting patiently, and it's finally here...  I have 3,520 hours of qualified work experience and am now eligible to apply for the NCIDQ exam.  (If you don't know what the NCIDQ exam is, read my post "What Did You Just Call Me"

    Technically, I was able to apply for the exam in January, but I was a little leery since the exam format and content has changed and the new practice tests and design practicums were not available for purchase. I checked the NCIDQ website this weekend and all the new study materials are available, so I am ready to move forward and plunk down a nice chunk of change.

    Are you ready to take the next step?  Check to see if you meet the eligibility requirements and subscribe to my blog.  Until I pass the NCIDQ in October, the majority of Wednesday's posts will focus on the NCIDQ exam: the application process, study tips, experiences and resources.

    I welcome those of you who have taken or plan to take the NCIDQ to share your experiences, advice, and resources with Design Elixir readers.  Comment, comment, comment!  If you're shy, send me an email

    Featured Project: The Parlor, Phoenix, AZ

    Built in a Phoenix neighborhood chock full of mid-century modern architecture, The Parlor, designed by owner Aric Mei and Panthangay Architects is a great example of sustainable design.  

    Wood from the interior and roof and the old metal sprinkler system from the building was salvaged and re-purposed. Every piece of millwork in the space, including the host stand, bar and built-in booths, were built using the salvaged wood from the old roof.  Parts and pieces of the metal pipes from the sprinkler system were used in the designs for door handles, lighting, shelving, lighting, and the fireplace.  Structural columns from the original mid-century canopy were torn out, then used to create table bases.

    The Parlor is a wonderfully creative and environmentally friendly project.  Watch the video below to see for yourself.

    3/29- I noticed that sometimes the embedded video is not showing up in the blog post. In case you experience this, here is the direct link for the video. Enjoy!