Working with Chicago-based design firm Lightswitch Architectural, the Art Institute of Chicago chose Ketra’s lighting solutions to highlight famous works with ultimate color accuracy

May 07, 2015 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ketra, Inc., the supplier of premium digital lighting systems, today announced that it will be illuminating newly reinstalled galleries of medieval art, as well as additional areas at the Art Institute of Chicago, a world-renowned art museum with one of the largest permanent collections in the United States. Chicago-based design firm Lightswitch Architectural was tasked with designing the Art Institute of Chicago’s lighting and presented the museum with the concept of transitioning to LED light using Ketra’s premium LED system.

“In the art world, the concentration is generally on high color rendering, which LED can do well,” said Lightswitch Partner Avraham Mor, IALD, LEED AP, IES. “However, the question is, how do we optimize color temperature? We were looking for an LED solution that would give us flexibility in temperature without sacrificing exceptional color rendering.”

In order to select the right LED solution, Lightswitch and the Art Institute of Chicago compared LED sources from a number of different manufacturers in a series of mock-ups. Lightswitch focused each LED source on both a painting and an object to produce identical illumination levels and to compare each LED to the halogen sources currently used throughout the museum.

Lightswitch facilitated a side-by-side mock-up illuminating four works by French painter Claude Monet in which Ketra was compared to the museum’s existing halogen lighting solution. Lightswitch designers matched color and light levels between the wall and the paintings using Ketra’s Design Studio software and their own visual perception. Afterwards, they used a Sekonic light meter to compare the color rendering, illuminance and spectrum of the light sources illuminating the paintings. Twenty Art Institute staff members were present to review the final results, including art curators, exhibit design staff and facilities staff. It was unanimously agreed that Ketra lighting was the correct solution for the museum going forward. The museum will be proceeding with a Ketra system for their newest gallery renovations, and will continue to integrate Ketra into other spaces around the museum.

“We have been tracking the development of LED for some time, but we had not found a product that showed the art to its best effect at an affordable price,” said Chief Operating Officer of the Art Institute of Chicago David Thurm. “Ketra now makes it possible for us to shift to LEDs. We were impressed by the quality of the light and the ability of the LED to self-correct to avoid a degradation of quality over time. Economically, it also makes a difference that we can use our existing fixtures without modification.”

Ketra’s technology is ground-breaking in its consistent accuracy and best-in-class optics, as well as its system of continuous closed-loop optical and thermal feedback for color point maintenance. Ketra’s unique combination of calibrated, tunable lighting, wireless control and energy savings enable the Art Institute of Chicago to have all the features they were seeking in a lighting system.

“We had situations like this one in mind when we developed the patented driver-chip technology inside our products,” said Ketra CEO Nav Sooch. “It will ensure that color never drifts with time, and the works displayed in this prestigious art institution are always beautifully rendered.”

At this week’s LIGHTFAIR® International in New York City, Ketra was awarded ‘Best Conventional Retrofit and Replacement LED Lamp’, which is a testament to Ketra’s innovative technology. An esteemed panel of judges from across the industry was tasked with considering thousands of product submissions, and chose to award Ketra with this category’s highest honor. Ketra’s submitted product was their mainstay PAR38 lamp -- the S38 -- a fully tunable, single point source lamp complete with internal wireless radio, and closed loop optical and thermal feedback for color point maintenance; available in multiple beam angles and lumen outputs.

About Ketra

Ketra creates the highest quality, most accurate LED lighting in the world, and delivers the only advanced system of universally-compatible controls at an accessible price point. Ketra’s proprietary technologies allow for unrivaled control and precision over the lifetime of its products, and make truly dynamic lighting available on a global scale. With controls, light fixtures, software and patented driver chip technology from a single manufacturer, Ketra achieves an industry-first standard of cohesion, and enables an all-encompassing lighting solution. Visit us at www.ketra.com for more information.

About Lightswitch

Lightswitch is an international lighting, media and visual design group with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, San Francisco and Hong Kong. Founded in 1993, Lightswitch has designed immersive live events and compelling environments for a diverse group of clients for the past 20 years. We believe successful visual design is a balance of artistry, unrelenting practicality and mastery of ever-changing technology, and we strive to achieve that balance without compromise. For more information, visit www.lightswitch.net.

About the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is a world-renowned art museum housing one of the largest permanent collections in the United States. An encyclopedic museum, the Art Institute collects, preserves, and displays works in every medium from all cultures and historical periods as well as hosts special exhibitions. With a collection of approximately 300,000 art works and artifacts, the museum has particularly strong holdings in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, early 20th century European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, Japanese prints, and photography. The museum’s 2009 addition, the Modern Wing, features the latest in green museum technology and 264,000 square feet dedicated to modern and contemporary art, photography, architecture and design, and new museum education facilities. In addition to displaying its permanent collection, the Art Institute mounts approximately 40 special exhibitions per year and features lectures, gallery tours, and special performances on a daily basis.