Sometimes lighting technology can pose an aesthetic challenge. It is almost as if the boffins in white coats don’t pay attention to us designer lovies in their daily quest to roll back science. For instance, here we are just recovering from bedecking our bar projects with squirrel cage lamps, having recovered from fitting out restaurants with Plumen lights when up pops yet another lamp for us to consider on the LED landscape. In the case of new LED filament technology, perhaps we should sit up and listen. Could this be an example of technical complementing the aesthetic?
Before we go any further – just a point of clarification – when we refer here to ‘filament’ lamps we don’t mean the pretty transparent bulbs that seem to hang in all the trendy bars currently – festooned throughout the West End. We are talking about a new LED technology that is dividing the lighting manufacturing scene. You may be familiar with COB (chip-on-board) LED lights. Here we need to talk about COG (chip-on-glass) which is an alternative LED technology. Whilst LED downlights throw their light in one direction often in a focussed pool of light there is another type of lighting which provides omni-directional illumination. The ubiquitous ‘Bulb’ or GLS provided this type of illumination since Edison developed it 100 years ago. Yet wave after wave of LED technology has bastardised the design with futuristic heat-sinks and weird shapes that don’t look good in Chandeliers and Table Lamps.
COG lights basically look identical to the incandescent lights and it is a technology that is best suited to lamps that spread their light 360 degrees.
The Technical bit
An LED filament is new way of packaging LED dies (or chips); mid powered small chips are directly mounted in-line onto a strand of glass. The need for a heat-sink is removed as the thermal management is provided by the filament itself and the inert thermal conductive gas within the glass bulb dissipates the remaining heat.
The Design bit
So what is so special about these lights? Obviously the market for decorative tungsten filament lamps is huge – testament to the number of squirrels around. They burn 60 watts each which is unsustainable. LED filaments will relatively sip power in comparison. They may not look very decorative now – but new versions will have elaborate filaments and very soon. LED filament lamps are cheap too. The lightness of the construction and the lack of heat-sink alloy will make these lights both inexpensive to buy and run. Couple these factors with the fact that dimmable versions are just around the corner and I anticipate a ‘spike’ of interest from the interior design community in the Autumn! I think we will find a whole host of new ways to design with these lights above and beyond current usage. So here are some ideas on how to incorporate them into your interiors.
Look out for a new range from Integral LED – the third generation OMNI light offers GLS through to candle bulbs and very high lumen levels – with 200 lm/w promised shortly. As an Integral LED stockist you can be first to hear of the new arrivals by registering your interest now.