Just in time for the holidays, 50 huge snowflakes lit by LEDs appeared on the landmark Saks Fifth Avenue façade in Manhattan. Set to an original rendition of “Carol of the Bells,” the snowflake show, which opened in November, runs for two minutes every half hour throughout the evenings during the holidays.
The project was designed by American Christmas Decorations Inc., and lighting consultants Focus Lighting, led by principal designer Paul Gregory. Philips Lighting, the event sponsor, worked in collaboration with Permlight Products on the system, which is the largest application of LEDs for holiday decorations. Permlight provided application, design, and fabrication services, to develop a weatherproof, controllable, blue and white LED system. Referred to as the TINY system due to its thin profile and ability to conform to the complex shapes, it consumes under 1W per foot and comes pre-connected on reels.
The LEDs are used in fourteen 20' snowflakes and thirty-six 8' snowflakes. Illuminated by 72,000 LEDs, the snowflakes feature more than 24,000 linear feet of lighting tied to 8,000 linear feet of steel. End-to-end, the LEDs used would nearly stretch from one tip of Manhattan to the other. With three modules per foot, it is approximately two miles.
Focus Lighting coordinated and programmed the light show, which consists of 450 lighting cues, roughly 3.2 per second. The company also engineered and specified the 13,000' of cable, 1500 connectors, and 720 LED dimmers. Additional members of the team from Focus Lighting included JR Krauza as lighting designer, Chris Werner as assistant lighting designer, and Dave Billings as project manager.
In addition to the façade lighting, Philips also created 4,500 custom, 25W chrome-tipped Brilliant Crystal Halogena bulbs for the Saks window display.