The week-long launch was a great success, with over 1000 people touring the Photon Pod, more than 3000 visitors to the accompanying exhibition inside the Building Centre - and many thousands of photos taken by visitors and passers-by.Over 20 online publications carried the story, and the launch was filmed by Reuters, ITN and Philips.
The Photon Project was initiated by Cantifix in order to fully explore the biological benefits of living within healthy glass structures - and ultimately to transform the living and working conditions of millions of people throughout the world. Read more about the Vision on the Photon Project website.
A prototype 30m2 all-glass Photon Pod was constructed outside the Building Centre in Store Street W1 – using the latest technology high performance glass to create an internal environment that is comfortable in most climates without needing heating or cooling. The Pod was also equipped with Philips' Hue lighting system to enhance and compliment daylight. Sharda Glass, Ritec, Graham Steel, Dupont, Southwall Technologies and Cube Construction all donated their products and services to build the prototype Pod. Read more about the Photon Pod on the Photon Project website.
Visitors were able to experience the Pod for themselves, as well as take part in daily sunrise and sunset 'experiences' which included specially designed reaction tests to measure their levels of alertness / relaxation. Cantifix Director Matthew Sharman described the reaction to the Photon Project launch…
"The successful launch of the Photon Project was beyond our expectations - and this is largely due to the engagement we received from the visitors to the Photon Pod. This should not have been a surprise, because everyone instinctively understands that daylight is beneficial to our health and wellbeing without needing a demonstration - but a 30m2 all-glass building certainly makes people take notice."
The Photon Project launch also featured a two-day symposium hosted by Paul Finch - programme director of the World Architecture Festival; deputy chairman of the UK Design Council and chairman of Design Council Cabe; and editorial director of the Architectural Review and Architects' Journal.
The symposium covered themes of daylight, health and wellbeing, science and technology and architecture and design. Speakers included Professor Steven Lockley PHD - Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Mike Roberts – Managing Director of Hab Housing - the residential development company established by Kevin McCloud; and Sean Carney - Chief Design Officer and Head of Design Competence at Philips, amongst others. Cantifix Director William Sharman explained the benefits of Philips' involvement in the Photon Project…
"The collaboration with Philips over the launch of the Photon Project and the installation of their latest Hue Technology in the Photon Pod was an enormous boost - and provided an exciting new extension to the research proposals. Hue has the potential to accurately reproduce daylight in all its manifestations, and from a biological point of view the positive effect on our circadian rhythms will be the same as in natural light conditions. As the scientists say,'a photon is just a photon - our eyes don’t differentiate between one coming from the sun and one from an LED display'. Of course this is a very good reason for finding out exactly what the effects are through the research."
The Photon Project launch was essential for achieving proof of concept, and now that the question has been answered about whether or not the extensive use of glass is practical, it is time to move on to the implementation stage. The starting point of this is getting the scientific research underway. Read more about the Photon Research on the Photon Project website.
Cantifix Director Charlie Sharman described the next steps for the Photon Project…
"With the protocols in place and the first research pod built, the scientific research is expected to begin in March 2014. The first results will be known 3 weeks later when Participant No.1 finishes their stay in the pod - and these will be built on over the four-year period to produce robust scientific outcomes. Having waited nearly three years for this, I can hardly believe we are so close to starting this important research - all we need now is the funding to be in place."
The Photon Research aims to provide verified data to drive innovation within services, facilities, products, manufacturing solutions and ecospheres / living systems that ensure societal benefits are accessible to as wide a market as possible. Brent Richards, Photon Project Architect, summed up…
"The potential for The Photon Project to be involved in a wider aspect of living and working environments is founded on the central tenet that the design of the Built Environment must take account of our biology and essential human needs. Photon Living has to make human beings the ultimate sensor of whether a building is healthy and therefore sustainable."
The Photon Project welcomes new commercial partners for collaboration from industries that include: glass manufacturing; lighting; nanotechnology; applied material science; telemetry; gestural language; and many others. Interested parties should contact Cantifix Director Charlie Sharman.