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Does Saving Costs Cut Creativity?


LEDs are the perfect energy saving product, but does efficiency come at a design price?


In the age of greenhouse gases, global warming and monitoring our carbon footprint, it’s no wonder the highly efficient LED lamp is seen by many as a hero of modern lighting design, but the debate on the benefits of LEDs still continues. Lighting makes up an astonishing percentage of greenhouse gases emitted, but as recently as last year the option to go LED meant a potential compromise on lighting quality. As LEDs are becoming the go-to product for energy efficiency, have they improved sufficiently enough to integrate into the more daring of design concepts?


LEDs have a number of obvious benefits, including energy efficiency and low maintenance, but an important benefit for designers is the size of an LED and OLED bulb. As these bulbs are so small, they can be integrated into interesting spaces. This is evident in a number of recent functional lighting designs, and has


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also led to its use within the entertainment industry. One slightly left-field use of the technology was during a recent Black Eyed Peas gig, in which the band members took to the stage wearing outfits infused with LED lights.


These outfits were the product of months of work, involving a 15-strong, multi-skilled design team, the Black Eyed Peas’ lead Costume Designer/Stylist, B. Åkerlund, and Philips Lighting. Philips role was to unite the engineering and technology behind the outfits and the creativity behind the fashion element. Part of this collaboration were Nancy Tilbury, Fashion Technologist, and Benjamin Males, Design Technologist, who are both familiar with the blur between fashion and technology; “Fergie’s leather catsuit was carefully integrated with 75 OLED panels. When illuminated, the panels were controlled remotely through a software program


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