General Lighting Stories

lightjunction: trend #6 -- LEDs make possible the use of new forms and materials

lightjunction, our new fine lighting event, will be collocated with designjunction at the Sorting office on New oxford Street during London Design Week, 18-22 September 2013

LEDs produce very little heat and are much smaller than other electric light sources. This means that lights can be made in new shapes, and out of a much wider range of materials, including those that are environmentally sound. The results can be unusual, and are exciting designers who do not normally create lights, such as the Japanese master of folding fashion, Issey Miyake:

Artemide In-Ei pendant light Issey Miyake

We all love paper lanterns. They don’t last long, though, so (except for Vitra’s Noguchi designs) few European lighting companies use paper. But now Artemidehave risen to the challenge. They are cooperating with Issey Miyake to use a paper-like material (in fact, recycled pop bottles) to create a delicate range of lights called In-Ei (Japanese for shadows, shades, nuances).

Artemide Issey Miyake minomushi floor light

They are made using the same mathematical process that he evolved for fashion, that enables a single piece of cloth folded flat to become a three dimensional article of clothing. Ernesto Gismondi, la grande fromage at Artemide says,

"When you see them, you can't help feeling moved; when you understand them, you are full of wonder seeing a future we thought unreachable and couldn't imagine this beautiful."

Such is the power and potential of fine lighting!

Artemide Issey Miyake in-Ei Mendori table light

The new materials that LEDs enable can be sustainable. PET bottles for Artemide (above), and, below, recycled paper for &Tradition, who make Victor Vetterlein's appropriately-named Trash Me out of it. When you have finished with the light, recycle it again!  They say, “like our global culture, it is a product that is ephemeral.” Discuss.

&Tradition Trash Me table light

Shikai Tseng's Ripple for Poetic Lab puts the LED lamp outside what might look like the shade but is, in fact, an unevenly shaped blown-glass form that gently rotates, creating shadows and patterns that are continuously changing, like slow cold, flames:

Poetic Lab Ripple table light

You have to come and see it (and their amazing clock, which is also a light)!

Utterly different again, is Artemide's Reeds, that uses LEDs to light up the "reeds" from the bottom. They gently sway, evoking, they say, "the peace and tranquility of the breeze blowing through reed beds by a lake."

Artemide LED reeds outdoor lights

We have already seen in lightjunction Trend #2 how LEDs are permitting dark woods to be used in ways that would never have been possible before. Here are two more examples.

The first is the strong, simple, beautiful Cloak pendant light from Vitamin -- a ball of oak or walnut with an LED inside that has a thick layer of glass draped (like a cloak) over it:

Vitamin cloak pendant light -oak

You know you want one -- in fact, you'd probably like three in a row. But, in oak (above) or walnut  (below)...?

Vitamin Cloak pendant light - walnut

The second is this wooden pole with a metre of LED strip inside it -- Sticklamp from the Chilean design and architectural studio, Ruiz Solar:

Ruiz Solar Sticklamp linear pendant light

By the way, they are also showing the really cool M100 chair -- so cool (particularly in this copper version) that, though it has no LEDs in it -- it is not a light at all! -- I'm going to show it to you anyway.

Ruiz Solar m100-chair-copper-edition

That would be an inappropriate note upon which to end a post about LEDs, so let me remind you here that, because LEDs are changing so fast, I have asked Megaman to present one of the daily half-hour lightjunction training sessions. No lamp maker is more committed to evolving LED light sources that meet the needs of decorative lighting makers, as this silver topped LED GLS demonstrates:

megaman-led-crown-silver lamp

thanks to which, we can continue to use iconic designs like Michele De Lucchi's Gloriette ceiling light for Produzione Privata:

Produzione Privata glorietta ciling light

Megaman will bring us up-to-date with what LEDs are doing well, and what that are not doing well, at this stage in their development. We are seeing hotel groups insisting that all light sources are LEDs. This is like saying that all cooking must be done in a microwave, so we have got to do all we can to enable specifiers like you to know when LEDs are appropriate and when they are not (yet).

Of course, they'll have to give the same presentation again next year because LEDs are changing so fast -- but that is part of the issue. So, to end, here is a Megaman LED light source -- amazingly (given how small it has to be), a retrofit G9:

megaman-g9-led lamp

 And an elegant candle lamp:

lightjunction 18 22 September 2013
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