With more funding being spent on research related to well-being, it’s hard to keep up with new findings and statistics in the field of design. However, there is one topic in particular that seems to have got everyone’s attention currently – lighting.
It’s a vast subject spanning a variety of different sub-topics, most of which have a significant impact on our everyday lives within any built environment. Human-centric lighting, circadian rhythm and colour fidelity are just some of the latest terms being bandied about to reflect new innovations in the industry.
With incredible transformative power across a wide range of applications, lighting has become one of the fastest growing sectors in the design industry, with an exponential upswing in revenue – a 2015 study by research firm Frost & Sullivan estimates the regional lighting market alone to be worth $3.5bn by 2020.
A number of revolutionary products and technologies were launched at the recently concluded Light + Building fair in Frankfurt, a biannual trade event for the latest in lighting and building services. One of the standout launches was introduced by Italian company iGuzzini, which is known for its iconic lighting projects in cities around the world, such as the Etihad Union Museum in Dubai and The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal.
The firm’s “Intelligence of Light” concept touches on a number of ground-breaking ideas such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), a protocol optimised for controlling smart lighting; li-fi, a light-based communication technology, which apparently works faster than wi-fi, and in a more secure manner; beaconing and iGuzzini apps-managed services and technologies. A big push in the direction of intelligent lighting is expected to be seen not just in workplaces, but also the retail and hospitality sectors, both of which are leveraging lighting to create strong brand identities, as well as collect consumer data using beacon tracking.
Another breakthrough in product design is the miniaturisation of lamps, which produce a more powerful impact, despite their smaller sizes. Case in point, iGuzzini’s Laser Blade XS (pictured above), a resized version of the original award-winning Blade lamp design. Clearly, making things smaller, but with enhanced smart technologies, is the way ahead in the design industry.
As overused-a-word as it is currently, sustainability continues to be a compelling topic in the larger conversation on design. Think solar power-driven products and more energy-efficient control devices. New guidelines by the Well Building Standard, which aim to minimise disruption to the body’s circadian clock, enhance well-being and productivity, and provide appropriate visual acuity, are now being implemented by designers in tandem with their lighting concepts.
Integration of lighting concepts with architectural and interior design is gaining ground among industry professionals. No longer an after-thought, lighting is being articulated into the design of a building from the very beginning, as stakeholders and designers become more appreciative of the nocturnal aesthetics of interiors and façades.