Technology trends – mixing the old with the new29 June 2011
LED lamps are at the cutting edge of modern lighting design. One manufacturer has combined them with one of the oldest natural materials, porcelain, to stunning effect.
Porcelain is the hardest of all ceramic materials and though this gives it many practical applications in science and electronics, it is primarily known as the best material available for fine vases, figurines and other decorations. It seems this natural material is well suited to the new electronic lighting technology.
UK lighting supplier Diffuse has melded this ancient material with modern LED light sources to create a very elegant range of lights. “Designing warm white LEDs into our products has been a challenge needing a blend of new technologies – thermal management and power electronics – to integrate seamlessly into our classic porcelain styles. But the advantages that LED technology brings have been worth the effort,” comments Jason Boatswain MD of Diffuse.
The benefits of LEDs include much longer life than incandescent bulbs (three years’ continuous operation), so a massive resultant reduction in maintenance costs. There is also significantly reduced energy consumption, so there are lower electricity costs and a benefit to the environment. For an equivalent light output, an LED porcelain chandelier uses about a third of the electrical power of an incandescent bulb. LEDs’ cooler running temperatures also mean a reduction of air convection currents that can necessitate regular cleaning due to dust accumulation.
The acid test is of course the purity of the light. In this both porcelain and LED seem to enhance each other to deliver a truly romantic ambient cast of light. The result is ideal for dining areas, welcoming receptions and graceful ballrooms. The buttery glow is a perfect marriage between the ancient and the modern.
“LED frees us to design outside the constraints of conventional lighting elements. LED has inspired us into new areas of form and aesthetics that would not have been possible with the old technology,” says Lucy Boatswain, Diffuse design director.@page_break@
The latest addition to the Diffuse portfolio of chandeliers, pendants and wall lights is the new Levitas range of lights that seemingly float before your eyes; suspended in mid air by a barely perceptible network of 0.7 mm filaments. A magical host of celestial glowing candle-like forms can seemingly float across an interior space.
The candle-like glow of the porcelain shade is complemented by the LED lights that bring huge efficiency benefits. A feature composed of 25 elements draws only 70-80 watts yet can fill a surprisingly large space with a rich enticing light.
The warm white LEDs are placed along a blade within each ‘candle’ to produce a continuous radiance. Individual controllers deliver 120 lumens per unit, each powered by a safe low voltage network of tiny support filaments which are strong yet almost invisible to the eye and unnoticeable when illuminated.
“The natural porcelain glow and the magical levitational effect combine to create a modern wonder of lighting,” says Lucy Boatswain. “It gives a truly ephemeral effect and a spiritually uplifting experience when lit.”
The Levitas Collection includes wall features and ceiling features for dining areas, reception areas and lobbies. “The ‘wow’ factor and the welcoming glow combine to produce a fantastic entrance to hotels, stairwells, restaurants, spas and high status residential interiors,” comments Lucy.
Photos: Sophie Mutevelian