PAOLO DI TRAPANI is a physicist, a Professor of Optics at Insubria University in Como, IT ( >140 ISI publications in laser-nonlinear optics, and a dozen of patents), and the President/CEO of CoeLux srl. In addition to academic activities, in 2001 Paolo created Di Luce In Luce, a wide-audience-oriented theatrical performance, which proposes an indoor, true, physical reconstruction of spectacular optical atmospheric phenomena: clear skys and storms, fog and rainbows, the colours of sky/sun lights and shadows, the glimpse of the sun during an eclipse through a foliage, etc. are all staged indoors together with examples of paintings, architecture, literature, photography, music and cinema masterpieces. By witnessing this experience, a regained awareness of light occurs and people start noticing the beauty of the outdoors as they have never seen before, while art gets connected back to everyday life (www.diluceinluce.eu). As a follow up, Paolo has developed CoeLux®, a technology that artificially reproduces the sky and Sun that are virtually undistinguishable from reality. CoeLux® offers ground-breaking solutions for architecture and the real estate industry, warranting high living comfort no matter how far removed from the outdoors. Healthcare, hospitality, retail and residential are some of first important markets to be affected. CoeLux® won the LuxAward 2014 as “the light source innovation of the year”.
Artificial Sky – The Evolution of the Sun Indoor and the Moon between Poetry and Science
Since the beginning of human history, humans lived outdoors, having the sky as their house’s roof. They were familiar with the light, with the sun and the sky. The fact that we were familiar to that condition is clear if we think about the wellbeing perceived while taking a walk, for example, in a park in a sunny day. Natural light was normally hosted in the eyes of those first men, and by hosting the sunlight their eyes were typically an aperture, a window to the sky. Men had always had this amazing possibility to be opened to universe, which is their original home. But they have somehow forgotten this when they discovered artificial light.
During evolution, humans got used to two fundamentally different types of light, namely firelight, that will develop into artificial light, and daylight. The firelight was initially meant for nighttime, to protect us from danger and fear but at the same time detaching us from the outside world. Brought to the extreme consequences, the power to govern the light hasn’t allowed human being to feel less in danger or less scared, but actually only locked up men in boxes, for example offices or even houses themselves, for more hours. While daylight offers to human being the possibility to see not always, but anyway clearly. Daylight distinguishing feature is the combination of the warm-directional component from the sun, which illuminates objects and casts their shadow, and the bluish-diffused component from the sky, which tinges these shadows in blue. This interplay is what supports the perception of the infinite depth of the space that surrounds us. What allows us to conceive the universe as our home is the capacity of the eyes of hosting such light.
In this context, CoeLux has created artificial skylights that, for the first time, simultaneously reproduce both sun and sky light, being virtually indistinguishable from real ceiling apertures. The goal is attained by recreating the experience of the infinite depth of the natural space, no matter how small and closed is the physical space where we live. CoeLux brakes the physical barrier of house walls, which normally detach us from universe, our home.
This concept of hosting the light can be declined in the architectural environment; In fact, human eyes are nothing different from a window. So in a certain way human being can be consider as architecture too. CoeLux provides humans a portion of sky, allowing architecture to aim for infinity.
Architecture is that science people use to build the place where they go to live, to work, to relax etc.. but, the architecture so far, has isolated people from the outdoor and infinite dimension of the universe. It creates more or less beautiful walls and barricades behind which people feel apparently safe. But human beings are not actually born to be isolated, to live in dark boxes. Contemplating the sky, and its infinity, the infinite distance between us and the stars, and the celestial bodies in it, or our impossible nearness with them all, allows a person to dream about the unknown and to meditate or pray, in other words, to feel again connected to our real and original home. While landscape and the city can be enjoyed both from distance and proximity, architecture needs to be seen from a relatively reduced distance: CoeLux allows architects to design distance, to include mystery in a finite shape, to create something different from a dark box.
CoeLux is more comparable with a piece of art, is something that put you in deep contact with reality, and that can even give you a better knowledge of it. With an unprecedented levels of fidelity, this innovative product enable men to put nature onstage, to play with the sun, the sunbeams, the rays, the shadows, and all color, in the indoor narrating the light, the shadows and the resulting depths of the outdoor. In the CoeLux system, a myriad of nano-particles faithfully reproduce Rayleigh scattering, a natural phenomenon present in our atmosphere, creating the celestial blue we see in our sky. The experience of the CoeLux sun and sky is further enhanced by the resulting perception of infinite space.
CoeLux allows us to experience real light in the real world in a totally new and surprising way. Then you may discover, amazed as a child, that the beauty all around you is very real and the world actually exists. Technology, as art, can work as a reminder in the same way. The real surprise comes, when going again in the outdoor, seeing the faint blue shadow of the object near you you connect it to the 10 km of sky shining above you. Looking up, you see the faint blue of the air that creates the vibrant bluish shading on the buildings around you. At that stage you realize you are no longer under the sky, but inside it. In the tones of the half-light on the walls around you, merging sky and sun light, as well as the point of light reflected in the eyes of the person sitting in front of you, lies the image of our star, and you suddenly experience the 150 million km of space above the earth’s atmosphere, and finally, the sun.