Luminescent Wayfinding Modules

Creators: Wyeth Birch, Gabriela Colón, Kristen Orr
Supervisor: Peter Yeadon
Collaborator: Satish Agrawal, Performance Indicator / Canopy Defense

This study examines how photoluminescent smart materials might be used to create a new wayfinding system that doesn't need any electricity. The Luminescent Wayfinding Modules are a system of circular modules that emit light and can be installed in buildings and landscapes. Each individual module consists of an outer aluminum housing, a filler material coated with photoluminescent paint, and a protective top layer of glass. They are installed flush in the ground and are clearly visible, day and night. During the day, one can see subtle rings of polished aluminum surrounding circles of white. At night, this white color transforms into a soft blue glow that is very visible in the dark.
The system was designed to guide visitors through RISD’s Techstyle Haus at the Solar Decathlon Competition in Versailles, France. As part of the competition, each house was required to have a system that guides the flow of visitors through the house and around the grounds. In the house, the modules were placed at a consistent distance from one another, but were closer together at points of interest, alerting visitors to pay special attention to certain details. Once installed, these modules require zero maintenance and will work indefinitely. They do not require electricity to function, only a small amount of Sunlight each day. The photoluminescent coating is amongst the brightest formulations that are available, and was provided by our collaborator, Performance Indicator / Canopy Defense.