Commentary | Nov 20, 2015

Can We Have That, Please? What We, As a Manufacturer of Lamps, Are Looking For by Axel Schmid, Ingo Maurer GmbH

Many things have happened since the blue and the white LEDs were introduced to the market. It was, and still is, an exciting time for us as a manufacturer of lamps and light objects.

Of course Solid State Technologies often tries to substitute traditional light technologies (and is doing quite well in some cases), but when there are possibilities to make light broader - that’s where it starts to get interesting for us. We appreciate the small form factor of LEDs and the thinness of OLEDs, for example. But often the design of structures and necessary components diminish the advantages, e.g. a heat sink, that adds volume to the back of an LED. It makes sense to find a classification and standardization so that development time is not wasted but where diversity isn’t eliminated. It is compulsory in a competitive market to focus on sales figures and listen to the needs of the masses, but we need to save the niches and extremes.

In a sense this also applies to technical data, which improves continuously but still has a long way to go.

Because we generally produce light fixtures for residential spaces, we always seek a high CRI. This can be found more and more, especially with LEDs meant for ambient light output. But for lighting a room for living, you also need small and powerful spotlights with narrow beam angles and without multi shadows. This seems to be the field for flashlights, where output is the highest goal that subordinates the quality of white.

Or we want to modulate light in a certain way, not predefined or specified. Rigid systems spoil the varieties, modular set-ups help to adjust and fine-tune the outcome.

So in the end, even when the supplier market gets bigger and broader, we still have to watch what’s going on at the cutting edge of SST developments, be alert and constantly willing to tinker (in its best sense) and experiment. In addition to that, we’re always happy to find a supplier to team up with for development and customization (having a stake in big ideas rather than in big amounts).

And of course one is never satisfied. As soon as the next innovation is introduced, our imaginations are captured. It is indeed an exciting time for us and will continue to be so in the future.

Axel Schmid

Axel Schmid works as a designer for Ingo Maurer GmbH, a company in Munich, Germany. They design, develop and produce lamps, light objects and interior spaces. He studied industrial design at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste in Stuttgart under Prof. Klaus Lehmann and Prof. Richard Sapper. After his graduation he received a scholarship for Japan from the German Industrial Design association VDID. He has received various awards, one of which was the Bavarian State Award for young designers. One of his designs for Ingo Maurer is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.