light the way
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Indoors, fiber optic lighting is often used in kitchens where additional heat from lights is undesirable, around wet bars, in stair rails or under stair treads, in chandeliers, and to illuminate artwork that is sensitive to heat and UV radiation. Besides reducing visual clutter in a room, the small size of the fiber optic light fixtures makes them the perfect solution in areas where standard recessed light fixtures are too large to fit into a limited ceiling space. Having to change only one light bulb that affects multiple fixtures is especially helpful above stairways located in areas with high ceilings. Instead of the dangerous prospect of balancing a ladder on your stairway, you can safely access the illuminator located in a closet or attic space.
Lighting levels offered by fiber optic lighting are typically too low for task or reading applications, but the light is perfect for general illumination and specialty lighting situations. One intriguing use of fiber optic lighting in homes is the 'star ceiling'. Bernard Wolf of Lighting Unlimited, a company that offers lighting products and design services explained, “The majority of our residential fiber optic lighting projects revolve around star ceilings.” Using end-emitting fibers that terminate in a 'star', ceilings can be designed to replicate a summer or winter night sky, or even the star pattern on the day you were born. Star ceilings, once only found in commercial applications are now popular in home theatres, media rooms and master bedrooms.
A magnificent example of a star ceiling can be seen in the Hobby Center for performing arts. Richard Laster, production manager for the theatre explained that the ceiling incorporates 2,000 fiber stars, lit by six illuminators. This particular star pattern was designed to imitate the summer evening sky over Houston, with the occasional computer generated 'shooting star' flashing across for a little excitement.
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