A guide to facade illumination

The Permanent Outdoor Installation family of SGM architectural luminaires is designed to fulfill the needs of dynamic facade lighting via specifically engineered LED engine and lens combinations. Instead of loosing output and efficiency through filters or secondary lenses, the POI system starts with the appropriate LED engine, available in multiple sizes to maximize efficiency and flexibility. 

The I, P, and Q series offer a combination of narrow-to-wide beam angles to achieve the best throw and uniformity for the given distance, while ensuring color consistency, long-term reliability, and advanced control. 


Facade lighting can be imagined in many different ways, and it is often integrated into architectural plots since the conceptual stage. Artificial illumination can remark the entablatures, pillars and ornaments of classical buildings, spread dynamic colors over solid surfaces with no texture, or create media patterns to radiate light through perforated structures.


Specific luminaires for specific needs

Narrow angle, long throw LED luminaires (like the i series), deliver a native beam angle optimized for maximum output over long distances. They are suited for illuminating the top of facades, accenting tall structures such as high columns or highlighting areas that are difficult to reach. In general, narrow beams are really useful to intensify vertical divisions, or to deliver a large amount of light to a specific part of the building.

211 Tower in Pittsburgh (US)

Lighting by Anthony Dolan.
26 x SGM i-2 POI fixtures were used as powerful uplights, increasing the overall contrast while highlighting the texture of the building.


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Medium angle, mid throw LED luminaires (like the P series), need to cover a broader spectrum. They are great for creating uniformity over large areas. Using medium angle lenses is convenient when increasing the offset of the luminaire from the facade. In surfaces where even illumination is key, the use of medium-angle floodlights can significantly minimize the number of units, while providing an even look.

The P series provides a huge range of lens options, so they can work as versatile tools no matter where they are installed. Mid throw floodlights are optically engineered to enlarge the beam width over distance.

Montacute House in South Somerset (UK)

Lighting by Matt Gardiner.
A selection of SGM P-5 floodlights with different native lenses, using 21º optics from a 50 m distance, and 43º at 25 m.

Wide angle, short throw LED luminaires (like the Q series​) are specifically designed for close-distance flood lighting. Their native beam angle is optimized for maximum lumen output. Wide-angle floodlights are useful to highlight textures, to illuminate the base of a larger structure from a short distance, or to create gradients that highlight textures and detail. They are useful as uplights on the ground, especially for broad surface coverages.


101 Building at Danish Technical University (DK)

Lighting by Matrix and DTU technical department.
The 26 x SGM Q-7 lights located on the floor cover a wide horizontal area from a very close distance, while enhancing the organic and curved shapes of the roof with a color-based gradient.

Direct view, pixel mapped LED luminaires (like the VPL system) are the most important tools in media architecture to add creative possibilities in a dynamic, pattern-based environment. LED fixtures with pixel mapping technology can be used as a powerful solution for transparent, banded, or perforated facades where floodlighting can cast long shadows and generate reflections. Since they are designed for direct view application, these luminaires capture viewer's attention via attractive looks, motion matrices, and colorful atmospheres.


Effects in facade Lighting

Popular in casinos, resorts, themeparks and modern architecture, media facade lighting is a segment on its own. Luminaires with direct-view capabilities are a great way to add a certain  presence and flair to any structure.

The Golden Gate in Gellerup (DK)

Lighting by Kollision LD agency. 300 x SGM VPL LED linears in 610 and 305 lengths map the entire façade through perforated metal panels, creating a dynamic and color-changing effect to wrap the entire walls.

Projection-based, LED moving heads (like the G series) offer diverse, dynamic effect possibilities. Moving projection can draw shapes on walls, trim light beams to cover difficult geometries, and create stunning light effects with movement, all in the same fixture. Born from stage lighting, moving lights specifically designed for permanent outdoor applications  are an excellent tool to create excitement in public areas, stadiums, and other urban spaces

Spot type moving heads include image projection, animation control and variable beam angles, while Beam moving heads are optically developed to output sharp and narrow aerial projection over dark skies.

Inno building in Antwerp (BEL)

Lighting by Christian Stenuit. 20 x SGM G-Spot moving heads were included in the luminaire package, projecting an animated, texturized layer of customized gobo patterns over a floodlight-based color wash.

G-7 Spot POI

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Key decisions in facade lighting

While supplying seamless color performance and consistent reliability across the entire range, SGM also offers a wide portfolio of solutions in terms of light distribution, output, and form factor. Specifying a SGM luminaire package is a safe bet, as it optimizes lighting levels for a sustainable use of energy, simplifies commissioning, and greatly reduces the need for maintenance.