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LIGHT + BUILDING / PERSPECTIVE


LED lighting pioneer Pete Earle MSLL is excited by the solid-state innovation he saw in Frankfurt but anticipates an even better exhibition in 2014.


THE LANGUAGE OF LED


Same old Frankfurt, same old walk from the backstreet hotel to the Messe, familiar iron man with hammer and the walk up the steps to the City Entrance. Same old trade show smell in the air, same old queueing to exchange my entrance voucher behind someone who has some infinitely complex issue with his entrance ticket that it takes ten minutes of discussion and phone calls from the lady behind the counter to fix and let him in. But I knew it wouldn’t be the same old stuff inside. The infant technolo- gies that I’d seen and exhibited myself at the show in 2006, 2008 and 2010 I knew were growing up, not challenging toddler or unruly teenager technology anymore, but polite young adult technology with a serious view on the world. I was quite excited, even though I knew I had five long days ahead of me being a tour guide in the Philips Forum and trying to walk the show and wear out my Salomons a bit more.


I was excited for quite specific reasons. I have closely watched the white LED prog- ress in the last ten years. LED white light has come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years and I work with it on a daily basis these days and actually studied it a bit. I have a fair idea of where we are at with LED lamps and boards and modules and I was keen to see how the industry was showing how they would use this light source that has become, err, useful. I wanted to see who was doing peak designs - that is designing their own LED boards and engines into their own luminaires. I wanted to see who was using the LED module ap- proach. I wanted to see who was innovating


with luminaire design and who was squeez- ing this new technology into old forms. I wanted to see the Zhaga modules and the non-Zhaga modules and ponder the differ- ences.


I don’t intend to review anything I saw at a technical level, there are plenty of Light+Building reviews doing that already by much more qualified luminaries (sic). I want to comment on some of the light source design-in approaches I observed – the peak design versus the module design. I saw beautiful heatsink designs at Reg- giani. I saw broad portfolios at Osram and our own Philips stands. I saw the cool Sharp light engines and Jason Bruges’ cantilevered interactive movement-detecting-on-the- ground chandelier. I saw a great LED fixture portfolio at iGuzzini. I saw the Samsung and the Toshiba stuff. I admired ERCO, Trilux and Fagerhult fixtures. I looked at a lot of LED streetlights! I looked and liked the OLED displays. I saw LED strips at 135 lm/W outperforming fluorescents. I saw LED spotlights rendering saturated colours like metal halide does. Some designs used modules, a lot used peak designs, lots used ‘chip on board’ engines. I saw lots of glare unfortunately. It was obvious to me the de- sign-in jury is still out on how it’s all going to come out in the wash, to nicely mix my metaphors and split my infinitive. It is clear there is no standard industry method of getting the LED light source into a luminaire. It’s each to their own. Some manufacturers take into account that a lighting designer or consultant will have to try to specify his luminaires and his technol-


ogy, others don’t give a hoot. The debate about where will the innovation come from regularly focuses on Philips, GE and Osram – along the lines of ‘come on guys, where’s your latest latest stuff? Where’s the latest board, module, binning technology?’. Well, it’s time to widen the lens and start to look to the luminaire manufacturers to ask a similar question – ‘how will you innovate with your designs using the innovative light source technology?’.


The luminaire manufacturers now have to step up to the plate and innovate using LEDs – that means LED lamps, LED modules and sometimes LED peak design boards. There is no legislation, norm or guideline that says a downlight that’s been a downlight for the last 20 years has to continue to be that downlight for the next 20 years but retrofit- ted with LED. A more innovative design ap- proach might be that the luminaire designer thinks about where he wants to get his light from his luminaire, for what application, for which type of effect and figure out what light source he uses and which luminaire and optical form factors he can design. The old forms aren’t necessarily the way to do it any more.


Did someone say it’s time for a change? Can’t wait for Light+Building 2014.


Pete Earle MSLL co-founded his own LED lighting company before selling it to a US manufacturer in 2007. He has freelanced for solution providers Artistic Licence and can presently be found working with Philips Lighting.


Jason Bruges’ cantilevered Scan Mobile on the Sharp stand.


The Kyneo demonstrating Reggiani’s creative approach to heatsink design.


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