If you were to design a brand/family of lights...

(Contemporary higher end lighting)

Where would you start?
Who would be your ideal user (where do you see the best niche in the market)? edit
What new technology would you look for?
What is the biggest design problem with lighting now?
What is your favorite lighting company?

Thanks guys. I’m new to this site, and I’ve got to say that I love the discussion boards. What a great idea. :smiley:

I am going to be doing my Senior Industrial Design thesis on contemporary lighting. Right now I am just pumping out light designs; and researching the above questions. If you guys would like to see some lights let me know. I can put them in this thread.

Welcome Therber2

For my process I think the answers to most of these questions actually start with another question. WHO are you designing for? From there you can see what problems they might need solved and what technologies might be applicable. Build a world around them and it helps guide the decisions. As a consumer I’m pretty cheap when it comes to lighting, mostly Ikea and CB2, though of course I love Artemide like every other designer!

Awesome! Welcome to the site! My usual advice to questions like this is to be careful about asking a bunch of designers here on Core77 to hypothesize about your market and users (unless your target market are designers, then ask us more direct questions about our needs.)

That said, here’s how I’d answer your four questions:

  1. With user and market research
  2. Tech that serves the needs of my users, and tech in related categories that might inspire solutions
  3. Can’t answer that without understanding context like user-goals
  4. I don’t think I know any lighting companies! Do you want to start by sharing some examples?

Looks like you are already playing with materials and processes as well as lighting elements which looks fun.

I agree with previous comments that you should have a clear idea of what kind of lighting (desk lamp, decoration, etc.) what kind of experience you are trying to create?

Im not really interested in companies, but more on designers and the actual lights (like chairs)

When you said series of lights this one by fukasawa naoto came to mind. Though not crazy or revoltionary in form, he broke lighting down to its components and really simplified things so that the light itself would be the focus. You have to click on the link below to see images.

Also here are a couple more recent works that I like.
[attachment=1]500x_Moonbirdlamp.jpg[/attachment]Moonbird is another lamp from last year that I thing is just eyecatching beautiful in form, and it uses a illuminating sheet of light instead eye peircing leds that just floats up in the air with the form as a desk/table lamp.

The teardrop is a light by tokukin yoshiyoka where the light is heavenly and the manufacturing is creative and beautiful. This is a decorative work.[attachment=1]500x_Moonbirdlamp.jpg[/attachment]

Family of lights?

I would go for a husband and wife light, that could constantly reproduce to give more lights! :wink:

Seriously. This kind of conceptual play often wows businesses and galleries alike. Don’t just think from the design side of things, think of the marketing case for the lights, and also how they would look from an advertiser’s and retailers point of view.

I think what you are doing is great, but if you want to make your project more meaningful, you could just add a little bit more marketing dimension.

Thanks Guys! About who these lights are to be designed for: I intend most of them to have mostly a decorative whimsical nature. I would say that the lights are going to be somewhere in between Lightology and Artemides to Ikea brand. Maybe closer to the higher end stuff.

Right now I am welding a new light concept together. I guess I have to figure out a way to bring the lights together. It is really hard for me to settle on one simple thing; I am sort of all over the place with design. I usually don’t finely polish one thing although I can, but I prefer to go for quantity, and creativity. Perhaps that is a design flaw of mine so I will work on simplifying this down and finding a target user.

I don’t want to make decorative lighting for a rich person’s house. I think what I am more interested in is semi-decorative architectural lighting. Mostly wall light or hanging lights. Any ideas?

Anyways, here is the newest light. I’m going to just keep posting my concepts in here as I go along. I work pretty fast, so you might see plenty of lights popping up. I really appreciate the help with marketing and such. I am terrible with this part of design; all I really want to do is make something beautiful, and lights are beautiful by themselves yeah?

Thanks for these thoughts :bulb: I’m digging the playful attitude thing.
Light Reproductions is cool; how about these ideas:

-Desk lights that are looking for something or just have their heads down.
-Lights based on flowers (maybe morning glories); they bloom and close at certain times of the day FAVORITE
-Same kind of idea; some sort of revolving mechanism which visually simulates the sun (maybe for kids)
-maybe a all purpose seasonal light (transformable or it changes colors [themes])
-lights based off of actual architecture (sorta gimicky)

Here is a some nice advice about home lighting that I found:

“Top 10 Lighting Tips
from Discovery Home’s Houselift

Tips From the Lighting Designer
Michael Eberle, a lighting designer featured in Discovery Home Channel’s Houselift, has these tips about lighting:
10 Tips on Lighting
1. Make sure your lighting design illuminates surfaces, not spaces.
2. Installing only five fluorescent under-cabinet lights is a chance … you won’t be happy.
3. Recessed lighting should disappear — the purpose is not to notice it.
4. If possible, lighting a mirror from both sides is the best option.
5. Do not let a furniture plan dictate general lighting in a room.
6. Be creative. Ask if you can swap glass around. Don’t settle for what’s on display! There may be many other options.
7. If there’s a skylight involved, light for an evening in December, not June.
8. If you are building a new house, don’t leave lighting until last! There are so many wonderful options that may not be possible if not planned in advance.
9. Don’t let a price tag put you off; there are lots of affordable good quality choices. Just ask!
10. Less is more. Overhang is a common error. Don’t forget to use dimmers.

This guy is great. My favorite lighting designer and lighting artist.
Olafur Eliasson

I saw that piece at the Tate when it was there, amazing.

I am a complete FREAK for lighting, and I keep loads of bookmarks of my favorite lighting designers/companies. Here are just a few:

Luzifer Lamps

David Trubridge


I love your project and your playful attitude, which I’ll bet will shine through in your designs (no pun intended). I have just one gentle criticism though, and it is that I still don’t think you’ve quite identified your market.

When you identified who you were designing for, you wrote “I intend most of them to have mostly a decorative whimsical nature. I would say that the lights are going to be somewhere in between Lightology and Artemides to Ikea brand. Maybe closer to the higher end stuff.”

I think this is a super start, but exactly who are the people who would purchase the type of lighting you described? I suspect that your answer will help with later design and material considerations. Having said that, I agree that it is important to just play with materials and ideas and see what you come up with , especially so early in the design process.

Best of luck with your project - it’s very generous of you to share it with us and I look forward to seeing your progress.


Guys i just got given a project to take one of our lighting engines and design a showroom fixture for it.

and i am stuck for inspiration. More links please.

I’m jealous…much


It should be wireless aka no need of external power. Also why use electricity? It’s your last change to really go nuts. Bioluminescence? I’m not such a fan of contemporary lightning since most of them are the same thing in a different package. Again I would focus on power(source). Start as broad as possible.

Here’s some links:

Yes I know lousy way to get my blog broadcasted :wink:

Good luck


Lucky you! I saw some of his stuff when it was in the MCA in Chicago. He really emphasizes the experience, but he sure can make a pretty object as well.

Atohms – those are great links. Thanks so much for sharing them. Bio luminescence is a great, wacky idea. I love it!

jjello. Thanks brutha. Yes, this has always been an issue for me as a designer; I need to think more about future comercialization rather than making something crazy. My idea now is to create either a wall light, suspended light, or maybe a floor light (or all) for a high traffic public space. I am looking at museums, libraries, cafeterias, art galleries, courtyards, lounges, bars, showrooms, or exhibitions spaces. I am thinking if I were to narrow that down I would pick museums or art gallery spaces, and I am also thinking that the “user” is going to be defined by the space so it is probably important to narrow down that list. I love the feedback you guys are giving me. I am posting up a new image/idea:

The new idea is to make a light that blooms at certain points in the day like a morning glory giving off a different glow or ambiance for the space. The “blooming” is not intended to distract from say the art in the gallery or the museums pieces. It is intended to be an attraction; say, people may think: “oh hey that is the space with those cute performing lights at 3:00” Something like that…

I have more sketches; here is one that I sort of like. Next step: I am going to weld this guy up with some cheap steel I have laying around. Maybe make it somewhat mechanical. Stay tuned…(all critique is graciously welcomed)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some really interesting study I found in InformeDesign, a Web site for design and human behavior research. I hope you guys find this useful.

This first study is just general frequent run in problems lighting or interior designers may face concerning lighting:
-Visibility of vertical and horizontal junctions aids orientation (So basically if you have a shiney hallway floor with a bright light entering at the end of the hall the junction may blend, and you will lose slight orientation).
-People follow the brightest path
-Brightness can focus attention
-Facing wall luminance is a preference
-Lighting can affect body position

InformeDesign went on the talk about how to technically describe loose adjectives in design for spaces. Take a minute to check these guidelines. Find the room in your mind/opinion that is most “pleasant” or “public” and see if this doesn’t match up pretty well:

Pleasant: use wall lighting, instead of the majority of the lighting coming directly down from the ceiling. Use a non-uniform distribution of brightness in the space; how bright or dim is dependent upon the visual tasks being performed within the space.
….vs. Unpleasant

Public: rely on higher levels of illumination with a
more uniform distribution of light from overhead
lighting sources, predominantly.
…vs. Private

Spacious: provide overall high levels of illumination with even distribution of light on the walls and uniform lighting on all surfaces.
…vs. Confined

Relaxed: use non-uniform distribution, wall lighting, and lower light levels, typically.
…vs. Tense

Visually Clear: provide higher luminance on the activity/task planes, with peripheral luminance.
…vs. Hazy

There are great guidelines for any sort of interior design, and I am sure could be used for other application. Just thought I’d share this fine bit of information with you guys.

If you’re designing e a pendular lamp for shops, public spaces, forget about bioluminescence. You can only use it for mood-light or a night-lamp for a kid. Because the light output will be very minimal.
If you’re thinking of doing some flower like design check this out:


I did a pendular lamp design some time ago:

The problem with most professional lightning companies is that their markets are niches. Therefore they can’t sell a great number = expensive.
Also one client may want direct light, the other wants diffused light. Some want a cold atmosphere others a warm one. This has real implications on the hardware level. Each type of light-source needs a specific transformer. So it’s expensive to make different products for all these different needs (because of the low sales number).
The Nude-project got rid of this. Its a modular lighting concept that allows the client to change and customize his pendant light to his needs/demands.

I also see you’re drawing your ideas in CAD. It’s better to stay away from a computer during your ideation/eploration phase. Create lots and lots of ideas/doodels. This will train your idea-generating-skill and get you more ideas. It’s like a little snowball rolling from a mountain. It’s really a blast if the ideas come to fast and your to slow to sketch all of them. These sketches don’t have to be pretty. They only exist to communicate an idea and catalog it.

BTW great tips thx :wink: they definitely seem useful

Many grtz and good luck