Recently, I had the long-awaited opportunity to see new lighting products that apply LEDs in ways that leverage their unique qualities: tiny size, strong directional nature and high efficiency potential for a new aesthetic. Coming out of the DOE SSL (Solid-State Lighting) Market Introduction workshop last month, no one was questioning that LEDs are here to stay as a commercial light source. However, leading architects and lighting designers had asked for several years for some creative-types to better harness the opportunity provided by LEDs. While the industry has seen general lighting troffers and linear waveguides (retro)fitted with LEDs, there was nothing yet (that I had seen) that turned things sideways, that surprised or awed.
Well, the long anticipated and newly launched inaugural product line from Vancouver based Fluxwerx Illumination, Inc. did not disappoint, and I would argue has met the above challenge. The two year old company has spent 22 months developing a unique optical system which provides high performance small-scale luminaires for any interior general illumination application. This is not to say that these products move far beyond the familiar commercial interiors 2’ ceiling tile or the suspended linear product style. What is uniquely theirs is the meticulous alignment of diode to optic, extracting the light efficiently, while the materials are smooth and sleek providing a new aesthetic to the luminaire itself.
The designers at Lam Partners Inc. (Cambridge, MA) were “blown out of their seats” by the beautifully machined fit and finish, the attention to detail. Justin Brown, a lighting designer with an industrial design background said “it’s the first time I’ve seen a light fixture not look like a (fluorescent) light fixture, but look like what it needed to be…” underscoring how Fluxwerx has shifted what can be expected from general LED illumination.
The key is a proprietary lens which uses the optical principle of anidolic extraction – defined as non-imaging – where the color and light is mixed providing a homogenized line of light, and where a production flaw of a mere 1/1000th of an inch makes the difference between success and failure. This patent-pending optical system uses internal refraction and reflection, keeping the source completely hidden from view, providing precise distribution patterns as desired – all while the lens remains completely transparent to the occupant below. The lens efficiently mixes and moves the flux away from the diode and out of the housing and remains clear when the luminaire is ON, adding an element of beauty and surprise to the environment.
Four product designs include recessed and suspended linear indirect/direct products in both symmetrical and asymmetrical distributions, with published performance criteria showing general illumination of 30-50 footcandles at connected loads of 0.3 – 0.6 watts/square foot.
The initial Fluxwerx roll-out has only taken place in 6 major U.S. cities and a full line of samples have yet to hit the streets. Company sources reported that requests for quotes have rolled in spanning the building types of the commercial and institutional sector.
The manufacturer’s reps have reported that specifiers are abuzz and changing specifications on the spot. The MH Companies in Denver have already secured a large job for a television network, and sales rep John Quade said “…it is one of the most exciting things we’ve seen in the marketplace. The affordability of it blows clients away.” Quade further said he hasn’t left any sales call without being put on a schedule – motivated by the compelling products – offering Fluxwerx an exciting start to what is sure to be a triumphant addition to the industry of commercial lighting. Good luck to the innovators.
If you’ve seen some exciting product development, please share a note with me. I have seen refreshing prototypes from various manufacturers working to wow us with achievements in scale, performance and form factor only made possible by LEDs. My prediction is that Lightfair 2014 (in early June) will be an exciting time for more product innovations, and thereby continue the passion we feel for the advancement and efficiency of our built environments.