In his 1964 New York Times article predicting the technologies of the future, Isaac Asimov wrote, "By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use." Lighting panels are indeed used to make ceilings and walls glow as he guessed. The Philips OneSpace is the latest such example of Asimov's projections coming to fruition.

OneSpace is the latest lighting innovation out of the Philips Large Luminous Surfaces division. It is a made-to-measure panel that aims to provide a uniform and glare-free white light, mimicking that of natural daylight. The panels are available in sizes up to 10 x 3 m (33 x 10 ft) and can effectively replace the ceiling of a room in which they are installed.

Antoon Martens from Philips Lighting explains that such lighting ideas allow designers to make a feature of ceilings, which are so rarely viewed as a design element. "Light is now an architectural component – it is no longer an add-on in a space," he said.

The light can be dimmed to the user's preference and can also be used as safety lighting, according to Philips. The company suggests that it is suited to car showrooms, retail stores and public spaces such as airports, hotels and conference facilities. Although these type of spaces can often be thought of as having stark, unforgiving lighting, terms used by architects in validation workshops to describe OneSpace have apparently included "peaceful," "serene" and "sky-like."

OneSpace emits at 450-780 candela per square meter and has a color temperature of 4000 Kelvin (K), significantly higher than that given off by sodium or mercury lamps. It is also available in 3000 K and 5000 K versions on request. It scores 80+ out of a possible 100 on the color rendering index, a means of grading how well faithfully colors appear in comparison to being under natural light.

OneSpace will be showcased this week at the Light + Building, trade fair for lighting and building services technology in Frankfurt.

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