Futurespace Magazine talks to one of the world’s leading lighting designers, Jake Dyson, about the benefits of LED lighting and why it’s such an important part of our future – environmentally and economically
I have always been interested in light fittings and the various designs on offer within the contemporary market. However, it always frustrated me that the big manufacturers only focussed their efforts on designing pretty objects, rather than improving function or quality of directional light. I have always felt that improvements could be made to light fittings and so it has become a fascination.
Why is LED such an important part of lighting for the future?
LEDs are the biggest breakthrough for lower energy consumption light sources. They contain no hazardous substances, unlike compact fluorescents, which are thrown in the bin when replaced and intimately contaminate landfill with chemicals such as mercury. If LEDs are packaged properly within a product, they will last for many years. LED technology is also developing fast and chips are constantly being improved with higher efficiency.
What processes are in place to make sure your products in their entirety are eco-friendly?
It is important to design electronic drivers well to support the life of LEDs and the products they are packaged within. We have designed a very efficient heat sink incorporating heat pipe technology, keeping the junction temperature of the LEDs at just under 60°c, improving the LED life by around 160,000 hours.
Also when designing a light fitting, the materials of the products should be robust and ultimately recyclable. There are regulations coming into force in California, for example, that demand an occupancy sensor as a feature of a light fitting. This prevents careless energy consumption, as long as the sensors work well and are as reliable as the rest of the product. People just need to be responsible, with the same attention as given to recycling rubbish for the home.
What are the first things you consider when embarking on a new lighting design?
My first consideration for designing a new light is to make big functional improvements; create good light quality and ensure that every part of the product is supporting the life and reputation of LEDs. In my view, there is no point designing an LED light unless the main focus is to increase the life of the chips as long as possible. Designing LED lights is not a fashion industry; it is about supporting and improving a fantastic technology.
Why is it important to be involved in the manufacturing and technical process in your view?
You can’t be in control of a product if you only concentrate on how it looks aesthetically. The performance and durability of a product is reliant on its quality, engineering and innovation. Understanding the processes are pivotal to designing and innovating and I believe seeing how the parts and components are made is the most exciting thing about designing. I find it difficult to grasp how people can design without the knowledge of how things are made.
The word ‘designer’ is too broad and there are too many artists amongst us. People are attracted to the look of interesting objects by fascination and desire. However, if a product does not work well or the quality is not presentable it is very quickly rejected.
What will you be showing at Design Junction?
I will be launching a taller floor standing version of the CSYS desk lamp. I realised very soon after designing the CSYS that it would make a fantastic taller or floor-standing product. The light distribution is so even and covers a large area. This makes it ideal for illuminating sofas and lounge chairs. The CSYS Tall can also be used as a desk light, but standing on the floor.
What do you see for the future of lighting?
The future of lighting is LEDs with the introduction of OLED technology I around 10 years’ time. I predict that LED chips will become smaller and more powerful with reduced energy consumption. We may well see car headlights change to a tiny hole at the front of a car bonnet and tiny holes within ceilings to illuminate large spaces.
The public need more education and advice regarding LED technology. We have seen the legislation ban of incandescent light bulbs, but consumers are so confused because there has been so little consistency and conviction to abolish incandescent bulbs. I don’t think they should be banned, I think they should command a high tax and purchase price. The tax could then be invested in universities and research projects focusing on reducing energy consumption, and to subsidise companies who manufacture LED lighting products to keep the cost down for consumers.
People don’t understand 2000k or 10 watt or daylight white. Light bulbs and LED light bulbs should be displayed on white walls in department stores so that people can see the effect of the light emitted and the colour of the light. It would be a more honest approach and far more simple for consumers to select the correct product.
It also upsets me a great deal when big manufacturers and the press get hold of a new technology and confuse the public by claiming that a new technology is around the corner. LEDs have barely got off the ground and the public have been fed information that OLED technology is the future of lighting and is available next year.
This is confusing, when we should really be educating the public about LEDs and CFL differences. If people think that OLED technology is ready for the market, they will consider LEDs to be a technology of the past. Let’s all concentrate on LEDs and educate the public, so that they understand what to buy for the desired application within their homes.