Jill Entwistle takes us through some of this year’s award-winning lighting installations.
Not to be dismissed as being in the realm of the mundane, sometimes it’s worth taking a closer look at more traditional light fittings that just do things a little better.
WHEN LOOKING at any award-winning products, it’s always gratifying to come across the bells and whistles type of lighting, some glimpse into a brave new world of illumination and luminaire design. But sometimes it’s also more to the point to find a traditional fitting that just does the job better or allows more creative possibilities.
Crystal by iGuzzini manages to generate high brilliance without compromising visual comfort or efficiency
And while people can be forgiven for not being terribly fascinated by the gubbins inside a light fitting, it is often developments in sources and, as evidenced by some of the 2023 Red Dot Design Award lighting winners below, the optics, that make all the difference to creating a fitting that does something new in terms of lit effect.
The downlight is a case in point, generally regarded as one of the more prosaic luminaires, one of those workhorse fittings that rarely gets anyone excited. But while they didn’t make the Best of the Best list, two downlights have managed to break a modest bit of new ground and deservedly won a Red Dot Design Award for their innovation and practical usefulness.
Winner: Best Of The Best
Tangram-Trace / Eureka Lighting
The Tangram range is characterised by broad straps which house an imperceptible flat power cables creating clean graphic lines when the fitting is suspended from the ceiling. Suspended at any angle and with spacers that can direct the path of the strap between fixture and canopy, they can be used to create design elements with a variety of geometric shapes, such as a parallelogram, for instance.
Tangram-Trace is the latest addition, a linear fitting with a prismatic lens that produces evenly diffused light. Available in 60cm, 120cm and 180cm (2ft, 4ft and 6ft) lengths, the fitting can be installed so that the straps disappear into the ceiling, or a linear housing (canopy) can be used as a virtue to complete a square shape.
With a 3cm profile, Tangram-Trace has a single LED strip which illuminates its edge-lit surface, and comes with a tunable white option. Low, regular and high-output options range from 670lm to 1027lm per 30cm and colour temperatures range from 2700K to 4000K (CRI 90).
To add to the possibilities, the straps come in black or white, plus red, green, blue and grey.
Winner: Best Of The Best
Shiftline / Delta Light
Shiftline M26 is the surface-mounted or suspended variant of the company’s trimless Splitline M20, designed for when recessed mounting is not possible (image shows both systems plus some of the available modules). As with any system approach, the aim is to provide maximum flexibility so that users can have a range of creative possibilities, functional and decorative, and meet various lighting requirements within the same space.
Using magnetic profiles, all modules can be clicked tool-free into the profile, ensuring both mechanical and electrical connection, and similarly repositioned afterwards.
Multiple light modules are available: spot modules with different beams and lumen packages up to 2000lm for accent lighting, linear LED lines for general or wallwash lighting, and pendant modules.
Winner: Best Of The Best
Crystal / iGuzzini
In recent years, iGuzzini has focused on some clever optical refinements that have produced powerful output from small fittings or created multi-directional output. Its newly patented Opti Diamond optic is based on the catadioptric principle – where refraction and reflection are combined in an optical system, usually via lenses (dioptrics) and curved mirrors (catoptrics). This is designed to create high brilliance without compromising visual comfort and efficiency (up to 155lm/W).
Crystal’s prismatic optic also creates a play of reflections even when the luminaire is switched off. When switched on, the frame gathers the light emitted by the reflector and spreads a soft luminance over the ceiling. There are four light distributions, from wide for general and uniform illumination, through to oval (for corridors, for example) and a wallwasher version for vertical planes only. There are also three size options: the three-element version (8W, 1000lm; 130lm/W), the six-element (15W, 2100lm; 150lm/W) and the nine-element (22W, 3300lm; 155lm/W). The fitting comes in either black or white finishes.
Crystal’s extremely compact size – 58mm deep – means it is suitable for shallow ceiling recesses and minimises use of materials, which also have green credentials: the PMMA optic is 100 percent recyclable, and the luminaire is covered in PET (85 percent recycled, 100 percent recyclable).
Its BLE_DALI interface means that it can be managed using iGuzzini’s Smart Light Control 2 app.
Concord Equinox / Sylvania Lighting
The vertical section that forms the optics acts as a mixing chamber and creates a light pathway. Its job is to guide the light output from the LED to the edges of the optics. These enable an equal diffusion of lighting towards the floor and the ceiling (halo). The setting of the optics can be adjusted with the aid of thumb wheels or through the app.
Concord Equinox / Sylvania Lighting In a nutshell, the Equinox has been designed as an alternative to traditional downlights – conventionally sized, but providing both direct and indirect light distribution.
Its award-winning light refraction optics were developed by Canadian company QuarkStar and originally used in Sylvania’s linear luminaires. Light is refracted, not reflected, both downwards for a direct component and upwards on to the ceiling for an indirect component.
This creates a halo effect which avoids the dark, cave-like effect of conventional downlights. At the same time, it also lowers the contrast which would otherwise result in discomfort glare.
The new approach allows an indirect component to be integrated into the downlight without supplementary optics.
The optic is coupled to a waveguide which enables a high degree of control over the light as it emerges from the LED chip, ‘maximising light extraction efficiency while sculpting the light in three-dimensional space,’ says Sylvania.
‘Unlike conventional waveguide products, Equinox does not use the waveguide as a light-emitting surface. Instead, it acts solely as a guide and mixing chamber,’ says Agnieszka Paprocka, Sylvania’s senior product line manager, EMEA.
A further innovation is that the optics can be set in two alternative positions according to the type of ambient light required. When the optics are extended, the lit section of the fitting gives the impression of being suspended a few centimetres from the ceiling. The halo projected onto the ceiling stretches from the luminaire like a shadow, reinforcing the idea of levitation. When not extended, the fitting has a more discreet appearance and creates a halo closer to the luminaire on the ceiling, producing illuminated reference points to animate the space.
Equinox delivers up to 2500 lumens with low glare – its UGR (unified glare rating) of less than 19 puts it in the highest quality classification in European interior lighting standards – but high efficiency (up to 125lm/W) and high colour rendering (CRI 90). The range comes in trim and trimless versions for installation in plaster ceilings.
The standard finishes are white and black, but any RAL colour can be produced on request.
There are also two LumiNature models available with an even higher colour rendering of CRI 97 in a tunable white version (2700K-6500K). Replicating the changing spectrum of natural daylight, LumiNature is designed for spaces with no access to natural light, or for users working at night.
Equipped with SylSmart SSC driver, its performances can be optimised with the smart SylSmart Standalone management system. Using a dedicated smartphone application, this gives full programmability and enables personalised settings.
Vanity Downlight / Aero Light
One reason why good hotel bathroom mirrors generally have lighting either side, whether integrated or separate wall fittings, is that they cast a balanced and flattering light on the face. A single downlight above the head is a no-no because of the shadows and contrast it creates.
However, the Aero Vanity Downlight offers another possibility. Its optic ensures guests have more light on their face for close-up tasks such as applying make-up or shaving. With a traditional recessed downlight, the closer the guest gets to the mirror, the darker the light becomes as the light is blocked by the person’s head, obviously making it harder to see the details of their features. The Aero Vanity Downlight reverses this effect – the closer to the mirror, the brighter the light, so that the reflected face becomes clear, with less shadow and high colour rendering.
The single ceiling fitting also means that there is no need for an additional wall vanity light, saving costs and energy, and making cleaning easier, especially when compared to wall lamps down both sides of a mirror.
The fitting is discreet, with a very narrow trim, and diameter of 80mm. There is a choice of colours for the reflector – copper, titanium, chrome or gold. The finish can also be in white, black or silver. Colour temperature options are 2700K, 3000K and 4000K.