The lighting market has certainly been going through a rapid transformation in the last few years. LED as a key enabling technology for changes across the industry has been fascinating. As a young lighting brand, our mission is to showcase the intersect between sustainability, technology and design.
The systemic shifts in available materials/components (repetition of technology), new manufacturing techniques and speed to market with innovative design has definitely created disruption and opportunity.
At Tala, we’re pretty evenly split between being on shelf at the retail level with our LED designs and specified on the contract market. I think at the consumer level its more about education and engagement with the benefits of new LED technology. The typical payback period on a Tala LED is around 9 months, so communicating energy savings alongside product design and experience has been key. Also consumer trust in the brands supply chain and performance is an important aspect in a world of choice and online buying. For instance, to account for our supply chain we plant 10 trees here in the UK for every 200 units sold.
Modern LED has evolved drastically, from the classic incandescent designs to Halogen to CFL through to early stage LED. Each iteration has had issues with quality, user experience and environmental impacts. I think we’re now at a really interesting juncture where the underlying technology is at a level where the very best bits of the original incandescent can be blended with the long life performance and design benefits of LED. This means that people like our Design Director Joe Armitage can really push the boundaries when it comes to product development. The new Voronoi LED collection we’re launching at this years London Design Festival is testament to what is now achievable with new LED technology.
At the core of it, most consumers, contract and public, want a light that is built well, turns on instantly, can dim properly with no flicker and emits a warm inviting light. Sadly LED’s of the past have failed to achieve this. I think this is because incumbent brands focused so much on energy and lumens per watt, the very functional aspects of lighting and failed to put the user experience and emotional side of lighting first. This popular drive towards industrial incandescent is in some way a reaction to these failings in ugly energy saving designs.
Everything is about balance though and we feel the phenomenon of LED has to be packaged with a certain harmony. For example, choosing the right Kelvin (warmth of light) alongside the very technical dimming capabilities whilst also balancing the glass form and tint finish. All of these variables become increasingly important when the consumer is now expecting to buy into what is essentially a functional sculpture that will last 10 years in your home.
The phenomenon of LED lighting over the past 10 years, good or bad has certainly sparked a lot of interest and awareness all round. Fine tuning your work and home environment is an accessible and mainstream activity now. I think consumer are generally more sensitive to aspects of their space like lighting now and how it can affect your mood, performance or feeling of 'Hygge’. - was going to add an explanation here but probably better without.
Technology wise we feel like the energy savings aspect is almost covered now, so new materials and light sources coming through are more catalysts for design than anything else. The future of the industry is looking towards the Internet of Things, devices connected to the internet to make people's lives more efficient. Tala has some really exciting technology and designs to bring to market over the coming years so watch this space!
(Article by co-founder Josh Ward, featured on http://www.mixinteriors.com/ask-the-expert-8/)