FAQ: Why use LED illumination?

June 10, 2010 By: admin Filed in: Uncategorized
More and more designers, architects, and home theater professionals are finding practical and creative uses for Light Emitting Diode (LED) illumination.  This is due the advantages offered by LEDs  over incandescent light sources — including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved robustness, smalle r size, faster switching, and greater durability and reliability.
In addition, modern versions are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths with very high brightness.
Due to the lack if IR/heat radiation produced by LEDs, they are being used increasingly for home theaters (iSky Panels and our cove lighting options),  plus additional applications such as sustainable traditional and landscape architecture, aquariums, artwork lighting, stage lights, and medical lighting.
LEDs are used for decorative lighting as well. Uses include but are not limited to indoor/outdoor decor, limousines, cargo trailers, conversion vans, cruise ships, RVs, boats, automobi les, and utility trucks. Decorative LED lighting can also come in the form of lighted company signage and step and aisle lighting in theaters and auditoriums.


The Spirit of Progress’ project completed & unveiled
May 14, 2010 By: Byron Filed in: Uncategorized.

‘The Spirit of Progress’, also known as Diana,–  iSky was thrilled to enhance a recognized piece of Chicago history and architecture on top of the former Montgomery Ward building.  Last night we put the finishing touches on this project, and joined others in the ‘The Spirit of Progress’ status’ architectural lighting unveiling.  Take a look.

The finished work! View from the top of One River Place (formerly the Montgomery Ward building)

Traditional spotlight on the roof of the building pointing up to the tower and statue.

More of the lighting setup. This was on the interior of the tower to make maintenace easy.

View of our completed work from the street level. She looks great, doesn't she?


Using fiber spots to illuminate an iconic Chicago tower-top statue April 30, 2010 By: Liz Filed in: Uncategorized


Earlier this week we took on challenge of lighting the 16-foot tall ‘The Spirit of Progress’ statue that caps off the 4-story tower on top of the 80-story One River Place condominiums, in Chicago’s historical Montgomery Ward Building.

Here's a close-up of the statue. It's a draped figure of a woman bearing a torch and balancing on a small globe called the 'Spirit of Progress,' atop the old Montgomery Ward building.

The 'Spirit of Progress' can easily be seen high on Chicago Avenue during the daylight hours. So our goal was for it have the retain the same beauty after the sun had set.

The unusual installation was complicated by the statue's precarious location. Because of this we also needed to provide a lighting solution that makes maintenance easy.

By using fiber spots, we eliminated the need to crawl out the window to perform the necessary maintenance associated with standard light bulbs.

The fiber is illuminated with a 250W Metal Halide bulb tucked safely inside the tower under the sculpture.

That said, we still had to do part of the installation outside the building. (So glad, this isn't me up there.)

Job almost done! We're coming back next week to add two traditional flood lights to illuminate the remainder of the statue.


Fairview HiFi Provides “Starry Campground” Setting
April 20, 2010 By: Liz Filed in: #Dealers | Products


The audio/video home theater pros at Fairview HiFi – an iSky Panel dealer in Burlington, Ontario, Canada – began a this comfortable and family friendly home theater installation with just a bare room that contained an existing fireplace and a question from their clients about “starry ceilings”.

Fairview HiFi was more than up to the challenge.  They recommended a 12” x 16” ceiling (using our 4×4 panels) following the contours of the room.  The panels were perfect for the size of this installation and were easily customized to fit the irregular angles needed in the front section of the room.  Fairview HiFi took the project a step further, by recessing the panels and tucking away rope LEDs giving the overall work a sky-like effect.  To make the iSky ceiling even more dynamic for their clients, Fairview HiFi installed remote light switches they programmed for several moods from low level for movie watching to higher visibility for cleaning up popcorn.  The home owner’s favorite mood was just the simple glimmering star lighting.

“You can hear the sound of crickets as soon the mood is turned on. The kids camped out under the stars for days (and nights) right after the install.  We mused about it being a great sounding campground. Help from the iSky guys made the install incredibly easy (psst, don’t tell anyone!),” remarked Larry Crosty of Fairview HiFi. “In the end, the theater owners were absolutely delighted by the look.”

We recommend visiting Fairview HiFi’s site to learn more about their excellent services and brands.  We can attest they’re a pleasure to work with and their knowledgeable team of experts can turn any client’s audio/video vision into reality. 


Light+Build Show: Best new package in LED Light Engines.
April 16, 2010 By: Byron Filed in: Uncategorized

Every big name company is proclaiming it has the best new package in LED Light Engines.  GE has one, Philips, and here you see Osrams four different Light Engine Packages.  Each of these manufactures hopes that OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufactures…other companies that make light fixtures) will adopt their package as the next standard in lighting.


Philips incredible showing at Light + Build show.
April 15, 2010 By: Liz Filed in: Uncategorized

We’re at the Light + Build show in Frankfurt, Germany!  So all this week and next we’ll share our favorite images, exhibitors, and learnings.  Today it’s the incredible Philips exhibit and products.

Phillips Solar Street Lamp at Light+Build Show 2010
Philips has made such a great showing at the Light + Build show, that a lot of competitors are asking themselves, do they even want to stay in the lighting business.  Phillips has been pouring over 4% of it’s sales into R&D. Of that, over 70% is going into the development of LED’s, and it shows.

Everything about the Philips booth is LED.  For the most part, they have successfully taken every lighting application and converted it to LED.  Not just switching out an old incandescent lamp for an LED retrofit, but rethinking the way that fixtures need to be designed in order to take full advantage of an LED package.  Besides the LED themselves, there are two other key components, thermal management (getting the heat away from the LED – heat shortens the life of a LED) and optics (how the light is harvested from the LED and then displayed.)  The next layer is control.  Controlling the out put based on environmental conditions or situation.  Street lights that are at full brightness during evening commute, but dim afterwards to conserve electricity and lamp life, but then brighten when motion is detected.  Or say lights at a bus or train stop.  They are in full illumination for 20 minutes prior to a train or bus arriving, then stay on for 5 minutes afterwards then at which time they dim down or go off.
Brilliant use of technology to make us feel safe.


Gramophone Gets Creative with Sci-Fi Themed Home Theater

March 19, 2010 By: Liz Filed in: #Dealers | Products
When Gramophone’s client’s visions of having a cool place to watch football evolved to a Star Trek themed home theater, the dealer was able to deliver by incorporating iSky Panels. Gramophone used 48″ and 24″ panels and blue LED lighting in the cove, which created the ultimate effect any sci-fi fan can appreciate.

After addressing a few practical requirements, the client and Gramophone had fun with being creative. The client was very pleased with the outcome of the project as it became a dream home theater come true. According to our dealer’s sales manager, by dimming the lights it feels like “you’re actually watching a movie up in outer space.”
Gramophone, who won Electronic House’s Home of the Year award, is one of our favorite iSky Panels star ceiling dealers.  Please visit Gramophone’s site to learn more about their excellent services and brands.

Admit One Creates Award Winning Home Theater

March 9, 2010 By: Liz Filed in: #Dealers | Products

One of our favorite iSky dealers and a nationally recognized premier home theater firm, Admit One took on the task of  transforming an old boring game room into this elegant yet knockout space.

Admit One wanted to provide their clients the “wow” factor of a glimmering star ceiling, but did not want to do it the traditional way by drilling into or replacing the ceiling.  In addition, the homeowners were excited about the ascetic and acoustic value of a star ceiling, but not thrilled with the estimated cost and time add-on for the project.  Admit One, provided the ideal solution…iSky Panels.

Our panels provided the desired acoustical treatment and helped add depth to an already rich looking coffered ceiling – while keeping project within budget.

This work garnered Admit One industry recognition by TechHome Builder and the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) – and highly enthusiastic feedback from their client.

Please visit Admit One’s site to learn more about their great team, service offering, and numerous industry awards.

Creative Ways To Use Waterproof uRay Tape.

March 3, 2010 By: Byron Filed in: #uRay

We had a great time with Bernard (Bernie) Jacobs on Wednesday. As one of the principals at Jacobs / Ryan Associates (landscape architects) he is always pushing the envelope of what has been done, versus what can be done! We love meeting with him and working on projects with such an inspiring mind. We are pleased to be working on a current project with his team, and starting the process of designing another one.

The meeting reminded me of the holiday card we received from him a few months back. On the cover: a photo of one of the projects we worked on with him, located at One West Superior here in Chicago.

Along with one of Bernie’s right hand men, Erik Dayrell, and the crews of Landek Specialties, and CountrySide Industries, we teamed up to re-invent a tired space. Already known as one of the city’s “hot spot” summer decks, the buildings new owners wanted to revitalize their image and provide a more inviting deck for their clients.

First Approached regarding the use of energy efficient fiber optic lighting, we quickly saw the need to switch gears to LED as we progressed into the design phase of the project.

Using uRay LED lighting, we helped create a “champagne like” effect by lighting “bubbles” from within the stainless steel columns provided by Ed Fernandez of Architectural Objects. Many of you have seen or used our WaterProof uRay LED. Well, this is a great example of what can be accomplished using a fantastic, budget friendly product.

We took this as a great opportunity to introduce the entire team to the newest “Warm White” landscape LED’s by SPJ Lighting. They provided amazingly warm light output unheard of by LED’s in the past! The end result is a stunning touch of light on the beautiful plants and trees among the deck.

All said, the deck turned out to be a newly invigorated space with energy efficient LED lighting, fantastic green roof space, amazing woodwork, and a new reputation – A reputation as “The Spot” for a great summer day by the pool, or a relaxing yoga class under the pergola. In fact, the building has increased its occupancy rate from 80% to 100% with a waiting list…all because of the deck! Well, we all like to think so anyhow.

The best part of the entire project was not the fact that we knocked it out in less than 3 months and met the Memorial Day deadline, or that the owners now have an energy efficient mood lit deck. The best part, is that this design won Jacobs Ryan a Merit Award given by the

Illinois Society of Landscape Architects – Great design Bernie!

Pictures say a thousand words, so touch on their link at and have a look at what Bernie and his team had to say about the project, (they are much more eloquent than I am!) When your done having a look at their site and all their wonderful work, give them a call and schedule an appointment to get going on your next project.

Special Thanks:

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the team that made it happen:

Without a doubt, the stars of the project are Landek Specialties. They helped design and build Three stainless steel, ipe and painted steel pergolas, and laid the ground work with a floating stone and wood deck. The work these guys complete is not only spot on with detail, but their team is the most efficient I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Simply put: Kevin ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Newman was a visionary, and Eric Ruud is a consummate pro – the best in the biz! Our thoughts go out to the The Landek Team in 2010.

Ed Hernandez of Architectural Objects for the beautiful work and hand made stainless steel details on the columns, and the fire pits. An artist for sure.

Countryside Industries jumped on providing stunning plant life under the constraints of an amazingly short time-line. What a great turn out. Thanks to Lee Keenan, Joe Davito, and their entire company for making the deck spring to life.

Electrical work provided by Block Electric. The behind the scenes power for the entire project, anything we asked for, they happily provided. Thanks to Michael Block and especially to Bill Kuda for his dedication to the project.

EcoTech iSky Panels: New “Green” Star Ceilings

February 15, 2010 By: Victor Filed in: Products

Designers and installers now have an environmentally friendly option for specifying a star ceiling.  EcoTech iSky Panels are ideal for home theaters, dentist offices, senior centers, children’s areas in libraries, hospitals, and other environments.

EcoTech iSky Panels star ceilings are made from recycled polyester which provides sound absorption quality comparable to fiberglass panels.  In addition, they’re also dust free, non-allergenic, contain no formaldehyde, and are non-toxic, thus zeroing out the risk of contributing to respiratory issues.

Installation professionals, designers, as well as homeowners will recognize the difference in the iSky Panels system immediately, our patent-pending Star Engine powers the lighting effects that mimic the random glimmer of the night sky unlike any system on the market. So not only do they look more realistic, but the LED’s 50,000-hour lamp life mean the system is extremely energy efficient, and virtually maintenance free.

Mirroring our other iSky products, the EcoTech iSky Panels are simple to install. This is due to our proprietary plug-and-play Panel Systems that makes estimation easy and doesn’t require banging nails or forcing fiber through drywall.

Contact us for more information or to find the closest iSky Panels dealer.