Indian temples are known world over for their architecture, carvings and intricacies… so our modern temples also try hard to maintain that elegance and grandeur. The Swaminarayan temples world over are wonderfully crafted…be it in India or in abroad and the one in Georgia, United States is worth a mention here. What added more to its magnificence is the innovated high-tech LED lighting by North Star Lighting. Here’s some more on how the amalgamation of ancient custom and cutting-edge technical partnership can create surprising and unique results.
Take a look at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir recently constructed in Lilburn, Georgia, and you are bound to be spellbound with its beauty and grandeur, especially when it is lit. The project represents collaboration between three primary entities, viz Illinois-based North Star Lighting, a lighting solutions design, engineering and manufacturing firm; New Jersey-based Lamina, a developer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art, solid state
LED light engines; and the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a socio-spiritual organization which to its followers represents the Hindu religion in its purest form.
The relationship of BAPS with North Star is two years and two temples old. North Star engineered the lighting design for the Bartlett project, and also worked on a subsequent BAPS temple project in Toronto and Atlanta. The Toronto project, for which North Star developed an interior – DMX programmable colour changing LED lighting system, required a very compact lighting solution with very high light output. That led North Star to Lamina, with whom the company had been collaborating for some time. Lamina is well-known for its compact, high-output LEDs, and North Star ended up using one of Lamina’s premier products, the Lamina Titan LED, in the Toronto project. At this point, the relationships were sealed. So when the BAPS began work on designing a new temple in Georgia, North Star and Lamina were naturally part of the team.
A collaboration of contrasts
BAPS Swaminarayan mandirs are traditionally designed according to instructions for the construction of religious buildings written into scripture thousands of years old. Temple designers Bharat Patel and Sanjay Parikh worked with principal architects Smallwoods, Reynolds, Stewart and Stewart, as well as Mike Patel at North Star, who was responsible for the engineering and manufacturing work done by the company. The team developed the design of the 20,000 square foot building, which sits on a 25-acre site, as well as the preliminary lighting recommendation for the interior and exterior.
At that point, Lamina was also called in, and the unique lighting specifications and custom design dictated by the highly ornate and unusual architecture began to fall into place. The exterior of the building is made of limestone and Italian Carrara marble, and the interior is decorated with pink sandstone. The stone for the project was all hand-carved in India and shipped piece by piece to the Georgia site, where it was reassembled according to ancient dictate.
A unique teamwork
The intricate, proper display of religious idols and figurines inside and outside the structure led to extraordinary effort in lighting design, both technically and logistically. “At one point, there was a section of marble that had already been carved out in India to accept a lighting product that had not even been designed yet. They said, ‘this is how we want it to look’ and we said, ‘if that’s your concept, North Star will design a product to meet your needs’. And thanks to the Lamina, we were able to do that,” said Tom Rotkis, vice president, sales and marketing, North Star Lighting Group.
The ongoing ability of North Star and Lamina to work as a team in response to the highly sensitive and unique needs of the BAPS project is a source of pride at both organizations. BAPS was able to create the lighting effects they really wanted on this Mandir due in large part to the ability of North Star to come through with solutions.
According to John Ekis, director sales, Lamina, “The team at North Star was great to work with, they have such insight and unique technical acumen for how to put things together logically in terms of how to drive the LEDs, how to package them in a fixture, and more importantly, how to integrate the whole thing into a unique environment like the temple stonework. The result is beautiful, unobtrusive and elegant. It really captures the whole essence of how to use solid-state lighting.”