Talking LED developments at the London RIBA CPD Roadshow
We were speaking at RIBA last week as part of the London RIBA CPD roadshow. Our CPD seminar concentrates how lighting design has had to respond to the changing lighting landscape. Inevitably there is a high degree of focus on LED and developments in LED lighting. Yesterday all the discussion after the seminar was about LED, the challenges and opportunities it presents and how people saw the market developing.
It seems trite to say we see the products getting better and cheaper. Isn’t that what all technologies do? What makes it such a pressing need for LED is that the technology needs to develop to speed up adoption and improve perception. We’re written before about the issues associated with poor quality LED. There is evidence that the take-up of LED for residential lighting is being held back. Last week’s session at Portland Place reinforces just how much the industry has to do to help architects specify LED correctly.
The questions and concerns that architects have seem to fall into three distinct categories. There’s concern about the quality of light, there’s a concern around specifying a source where the light source is integral to the fitting and there’s a wider fear of the unknown. The people we speak to understand that there has been a significant shift in the market; they also believe they are ill-served with information.
So what needs to happen? Let’s go back to the point about LED getting better and cheaper? LED efficiency has continued to improve but efficiency is not an obstacle to market adoption now. What really needs to improve is manufacturing efficiency. The chips used in high-quality LED fittings are a very small sliver of survivors of a manufacturing process that sees LED chips grown. Like a modern day Ribena advert, only the best quality chips make it into lighting products and of that small amount only the best are selected for the high-end professional fittings we specify. This drives cost for high-end fittings and also means there is a market gap that is filled with lower quality chips. Good quality chips and fittings provide consistently great quality light AND deliver on their longevity promise. For a view on why we can expect great things from LED in 2015 have a look at this review of 2014 from mondo*arc –Link removed; content no longer available online
Co-incidentally on the same day last week we were at the darc awards and darc night launch party at Dilston Grove.
The darc awards are organised by mondo*arc and darc magazine. They’re a response to traditional awards and judging by last week’s launch they’re going to be very different, both in terms of the entry and judging process and also the awards ceremony itself. Darc night will happen in an as yet secret location in London in September and it’s going to be pretty spectacular.