Soraa, a company founded by famous engineer Suji Nakamura, has continued to carve out a niche in the LED lighting market. While its LED lights are not the most efficient or the least costly in terms of lumens per dollar, the company has promoted the superior color rendering of its technology. While such color rendering may be wanted in retail, the initial cost is usually a concern. Hence, Soraa is not particularly competitive in retail markets. However, the market where Soraa has excelled is for the lighting of art exhibitions and museums.
Museum and art exhibits require a combination of both efficiency and extremely good color rendering. This color rendering is where Soraa technology excels.
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) chose to use lighting from the Freemont, California company for this reason. Soraa reported that the DIA installed its full visible spectrum LED lamps at its the Arts of the Ancient Middle East Gallery. At the gallery, Soraa’s LED lamps now illuminate historic artifacts from early civilizations of the Middle East dated from about 3000 BCE and 600 CE. The artifacts map the rise of writing, trade, religions, cities, and empires in these early Middle East civilizations.
Lighting designer Marc Langlois with the help of the museum’s curatorial and collection staff performed a detailed series of tests, calculations, and small case studies with a variety of lamps and fixtures. After the extensive testing and evaluation, the team opted for Soraa’s VIVID MR16 LED lamps to illuminate the ancient art and artifacts.
According to Soraa, the new LED lighting gives the space a more inviting, airy and contemporary feel that the DIA desired. Previously, the gallery’s beautiful architecture had been lost due to the poor color rendering of the halogen lighting. However, the new Soraa lighting improved the color rendering of the artworks and made the space itself a guest attraction.
“The color quality and consistency realized from the Soraa lamps proved to be the best fit for our installation,” said Terry Birkett, director of collections management for the Detroit Institute of Arts. “Once the installation was completed, the response from the public and staff made it clear that Soraa’s lighting made the difference we had hoped for.”
Marc Langlois discovered in the LED lighting evaluations that Soraa’s LED lamps emit every color in the rainbow, enabling them to render tones beautifully and accurately. The lamps boast a color rendering index (CRI) of 95 and deep red (R9) rendering of 95. Soraa claims its GaN on GaNTM LED technology renders the widest range of colors of visible objects. Unlike sunlight and certain artificial light sources, Soraa LED lamps don’t emit ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) that can fade or harm the art and artifacts.
“The DIA was expanding its space, and this gave us the opportunity to bring out the architectural elements and the artifacts through lighting design. The cooler color temperature really shows the beauty of the artifacts, many of which are stone and other organic materials,” said Langlois. “Soraa’s LED lamps give you the ability to appreciate the space more so than if it was still a warmer color temperature.”
In addition to offering excellent color rendering, Soraa LED lamps are expected to help DIA cut lighting energy costs for the exhibit by 50 percent.