back to article Lighting bods blind designophiles with LED-powered lounge lamps

At the 100% Design show in London's Earls Court this week, the great and the good from architecture and interior design spent their time gazing into lights. Not just any lights, either: LED lights covered in a thin film based on butterfly wings. LEDs can produce very intense point source illumination, which is great for …


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  1. miket82



  2. Cyberelic


    It always seems to be normal to ignore simple practicality. Who is going to keep junk like that clean and dusted???


    1. Nick Kew

      Re: Designers

      A dust elf, riding in a led balloon.


    2. HMB

      Re: Designers

      Gorgeous, futuristic and inspiring lights are being created and all you have to say is that it's going to get dusty?

      As for dust with the likes of the table, I imagine you'd clean it in the same way that you'd clean... a table. Exactly how is that not practical?

    3. Don Jefe

      Re: Designers

      Two points:

      Designers and product engineers have a long history of wacky horse trading. The designers know that the engineers are going to end up scaling back many elements so they blow waaay past practical for production with the hope enough core elements remain that they get credit/licensing deals for the designs.

      I espouse beginning by arranging for cleaning services first, then slowly adding to your difficult to clean items collection. If you've already got a lot of difficult things the cleaners will charge you a lot more. If you gradually add more stuff they won't really notice: Kind of like boiling frogs.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Designers

      Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better

      To paint a picture, or write a letter,

      Bake a cake, or plant a seed;

      Ponder the difference between want and need?

      Dust if you must, but there's not much time,

      With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;

      Music to hear, and books to read;

      Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

      Dust if you must, but the world's out there

      With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;

      A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,

      This day will not come around again.

      Dust if you must, but bear in mind,

      Old age will come and it's not kind.

      And when you go (and go you must)

      You, yourself, will make more dust.

    5. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Designers

      Godfrey Bloom says that my wife should be sorting that out. I'm waiting for him to pop round and explain that to her, as I'm certainly not going to!

      (Fighting one sexist stereotype with another? How postmodern of me.)

  3. frank ly

    Lamps 'R' Us

    Available soon.

  4. Iznik


    The 3 foot diameter one weighs 29 lbs, so not appropriate as a replacement for some existing pendants.

    The steel version of the 7 foot diameter model weighs 105 pounds, so might end up as a conversational floor piece rather than a pendant light.

    But pretty.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Weighty

      "The 3 foot diameter one weighs 29 lbs, so not appropriate as a replacement for some existing pendants.

      The steel version of the 7 foot diameter model weighs 105 pounds, so might end up as a conversational floor piece rather than a pendant light."

      So not really "air" at all.

      I'd guess no more than a stiff sheet of cardboard.


    2. Eddy Ito

      Re: Weighty

      Given I can comfortably reach my arms across the kitchen to touch the counter on each side I know where I won't be putting a 7 foot unit. Now depending on how tall they lights are then a suitable bracket that would hold the light flat against the wall would make it a rather interesting wall sconce with the potential to use the inside of the ring as something like a bookcase or a cabinet for the entertainment center. Reversing the light so it illuminated the inside of the ring might make for an option to highlight artwork. I'd avoid putting it in a narrow passage, as it looks about a foot thick if that's the three footer shown in the pics.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd be happy with ...

    ... simple replacements for the standard bulbs.

    LEDs are slowly getting there but are still not a match for incandescents. I've experimented with many different LED bulbs, both cheap and expensive, and haven't been able to find any with decent enough light quality to replace the incandescents. I'll still keep on buying and trying them (and then give them away to family) in the hope of getting some decent ones but so far I haven't had any success.

    1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

      Re: I'd be happy with ...

      About the best that you can expect to get from LEDs is the same light quality obtained from flourescent lights.

      Visible light LEDs are almost as monochromatic as the low pressure sodium street lamps. To get white light from a LED lamp either a blue LED is used with a phosphor to generate the missing colours or a UV LED is used with the same type of phosphors as in a flourescent tube. Unfortunately none of the energy efficient light sources approach the smooth spectrum of an incandescent light source.

      1. frank ly

        @Duncan Macdonald Re: I'd be happy with ...

        Can't they fool the human eyes by using an array of Red, Blue, Green LEDs (in the right mixture) behind a diffusing screen? It wouldn't be a smooth spectrum but it's the visual effect that matters.

        1. Richard Neill

          Re: @Duncan Macdonald I'd be happy with ...

          Unfortunately, that doesn't work, because of the reflection spectra of the items being illuminated.

          For example, consider some yellow paint, with a narrow spectral peak. If this is lit by tungsten/daylight light, it will reflect in the yellow component, which then partly stimulates both the red and the green receptors (each of which has a broad response) in the human eye, and we see it as yellow. But if lit by R+G+B LEDs, the paint will reflect nothing, and will appear black.

          1. M Gale

            Re: @Duncan Macdonald I'd be happy with ...

            But if lit by R+G+B LEDs, the paint will reflect nothing, and will appear black.

            If that was the case, colour scanners wouldn't work.

            Neither would this.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: @Duncan Macdonald I'd be happy with ...

              If that was the case, colour scanners wouldn't work.

              Colour scanners use a white light, and RGB detectors. Not the same thing.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Duncan Macdonald I'd be happy with ...

                @Phil O'Sophical

                Newer colour scanners use RGB LED's

                Take a look at Canon L.I.D.E scanners.

              2. M Gale

                Re: @Duncan Macdonald I'd be happy with ...

                Every colour scanner I've used (though granted my last one was a while ago) used RGB lights. They look white because all the lights are firing. Try doing a greyscale scan. The options will usually allow you to select all, or either the red, green, or blue light as the illumination source.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Duncan Macdonald I'd be happy with ...

            Yellow paint with a narrow spectral peak would look very dark brown indeed. The whole point about yellow paint is that it has to reflect red and green because, in fact, that is how the human eye works - the colour we perceive is the result of the spectrum of reflection overlaid on the colour response of the cones in the eye. Although a narrow yellow spectrum such as the sodium line affects both green and red cones, sunlight has a wide spectrum and affects both over the full range of wavelengths. Almost everything that is "yellow" in nature reflects a wide range of wavelengths - including some blue.

            Therefore, the available energy in sunlight over a narrow spectral band is quite small, so the amount of energy available to reflect off your narrow band yellow paint is also small and it would look very dark.

            To get a full colour gamut, high end inkjet printers use more colours than CMY, and usually have light yellow as one of the inks.This is because light yellows have a wide range of reflection including some blue (as noted above). Because blue ink takes up space on the paper and does not reflect red and green very light yellows cannot be perfectly matched with standard yellow ink. This is also the range of perception at which the human eye is most colour sensitive.

    2. easyk

      Re: I'd be happy with ...

      Maybe you should move somewhere sunnier?

      I started replacing failed bulbs with Phillips LEB bulbs 3 years ago. I have seen 0% failure rate. I don’t get so angry with the kids when they leave them on. They are instant on and dimmable. I have no complaint about the light spectrum.

      But I live in sunny Colorado and spend a lot of time outside. Maybe if I lived in a persistently overcast region I would care more. I suspect though you just like complaining about light bulbs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'd be happy with ...

        > I suspect though you just like complaining about light bulbs.

        I have vision problems. Incandescents provide the best light for me to see with. I would like to replace all my bulbs with LEDs but until they illuminate areas at least as good as incandescents it isn't feasible for me to replace them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'd be happy with ...

        When my aging (though they wont admit it) parents moved house I persuaded them to let me fit Philips bulbs to all they light fittings, that was only a year ago, 0% failure rate and I am safe in the knowledge that my mad scientist dad will have one less reason to balance precariously on a step ladder. I did my own maths on the value for money argument and at the time it was marginal, but since then the prices have fallen a little.

    3. Sultitan

      Re: I'd be happy with ...

      Try the Diall GU10 LEDs from B&Q - for me, they're the real deal at the right price.

    4. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: I'd be happy with ...

      I would have said the same thing a couple months ago. I have these recessed lights in my kitchen ceiling. Neither incandescents nor compact florescents last longer than 4-6 months in them. I saw a LED fixture that's literally a push-in replacement for the recessed one and ended up looking better.

      It's "daylight" (5K color temp) which is a hell of a lot better for cooking and has lasted over 6 months so far without dimming or anything else. They're visibly brighter than the 75W incandescents they replaced and are only 22W.

      I ended up replacing the lights in my computer room with the daylight LED bulbs and not only do they use less electricity and put out better light, but I seem to have fewer problems sleeping after spending 10-12 hours under them.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: I'd be happy with ...

        @Gene: Seconded on the LED recessed fixtures. They throw just as much light as the 75-100 watt bulbs they replaced, give off much less heat, and will probably still work right up to the point where I'm demolishing the ceiling they are installed in.

    5. 4ecks

      Re: I'd be happy with ...

      LED lamp technology has advanced very rapidly, what you bought a couple of years ago is "old".

      The new COB sources have improved thermal management and hence higher lm/w output.

      For retro-fit applications try the Megaman GU10's (( ) for dimming I recommend ), and the Crompton GLS style lamps ( ) . For new downlight installations the Ansell Titan has a 7 year registration-free warranty ( ) and for around £40+vat will more than pay for itself in 50W lamps that you don't have to replace over its rated life, let alone the 80% reduction in 'leccy used.

      Just my tuppence-worth, from personal usage. YMMV.

    6. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: I'd be happy with ...

      I picked up an 810lm Osram LED bulb in B&Q today for £15. It is there in terms of brightness, but not quite there in terms of light quality. I also have a 600lm Philips LED bulb, £13 in Sainsburys. It is there in terms of light quality, but not quite there in terms of brightness. I'm using it in a cupboard, and it is bright enough for that. Philips apparently have an 806lm model. I haven't seen it, but maybe that is the the one that makes it for both brightness and light quality.

  7. Real Ale is Best

    I'd like some choice!

    It's high time we ditched the 'standard bulbs' and created some standard LED alternatives.

    Something where the power supply is in the fitting, rather than have to package it with every bulb, thus increasing the cost.

    LEDs are small, and we should have some suitable packaging that takes advantage of this. Once the standard is in place, we can then have a nice set of fittings to use them in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'd like some choice!

      Standard bulbs provide a better quality light. Once LEDs reach or surpass this standard then by all means ditch them, but until then leave the consumers with a choice.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: I'd like some choice!

        "Standard bulbs provide a better quality light."

        Dogs make better pets than cats.

        I agree with you regarding light quality; but my wife loves the light from LED's. She thinks the rather harsh lighting and cold color exposes flaws in things better. She thinks it is cheating to "disguise" things with "dishonest" lighting. I think her rooms are horrible because of it, but hey, that's what subjectivity is all about. Better for one person is inferior for another.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'd like some choice!

          "but my wife loves the light from LED's"

          That's grounds for divorce where I come from.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: I'd like some choice!

      It's the power supply that is the problem. You probably do want to change it every time you change a lamp. LEDs may have lifespans measured in tens of thousands of hours, but in my experience (we have a heck of a lot of LED lighting of various types at work) the power supplies are the weak point, often failing well within the lifespan you'd expect for a cheap incandescent. Only this morning I came in to work to find one LED fitting obviously a bit confused and thinking that the lift lobby was a disco. Dead PSU after less than a year.

      There are all sorts of "low power" alternatives to "normal" lighting, and we've tried quite a lot of them. The quality of power supplies is a common weak factor and makes a complete mockery of claims of extended lifespans and lower total cost-of-ownership.

      We've just bought two "LED" projectors (Panasonic, red and blue LEDs, green from a blue laser shining on a phosphor, DLP imaging unit). They are supposed to have lifespans of 20,000 hours before needing replacing. In our experience Panasonic build things as if they were destined for military service, so maybe, just maybe...?


      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: I'd like some choice!

        It's the power supply that is the problem.

        Another advantage to basic incandescent lights. No PSU, cheap, effective, every component recyclable, minimal environmental impact during manufacture. Concentrate on generating the energy cleanly and efficiently and you don't need to worry about fancy gadgets with false environmental credentials at the points of use.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'd like some choice!

          And then all you have to do is come up with 4 or 5 times the amount of energy to light the buildings, more energy to cool the buildings and pay the maintenance crew to replace the bulbs.

          I don't even understand why businesses have been using fluorescent lighting for so many years when incandescents are so much cheaper and simpler. It's just energy, which is easily and cleanly available the world over and not a source of any economic or political problems. What's more, with the whole world's population on comprehensive, reliable electrical grids and using electric lighting instead of much simpler and warmer kerosene lamps, lighting efficiency, especially that of LEDs is just a complete waste of time.

          1. James Hughes 1

            Re: I'd like some choice!

            Recent GU10 LED bulbs from Tescos, £10 dimmable and I cannot tell the difference in light from normal 35W GU10's.

            Lidl recently had LED GU10 bulbs (not dimmable), at I think 2 for £14? (cant remember exactly) Those are even better/brighter than the Tesco ones. Go well in the kitchen.

            Compared with the LED GU10's I have from only 1 or two years ago- things have moved on very well indeed.

  8. earl grey

    still waiting

    for my 300W LED replacements....mogul base, of course.

    1. M Gale

      Re: still waiting

      Mogul base eh? 300W? High pressure sodium perchance?

      Methinks you'd be more interested in clusters of PAR-matched red and blue LEDs, you naughty boy, you.

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: still waiting

        Had one the the sodium fixtures fail in our exterior building lighting (work), replaced it with a LED-fixture. Everyone loves the new lights. our plan is to replace the rest of the fixtures as the bulbs fail.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: still waiting

      Toshiba sell them as streetlights

  9. Mike Taylor


    LEDs might be OK where there's ambient light. I live on the outskirts of Oxford, and they're shite as soon as I leave the streetlights and get into the real dark.

    1. WraithCadmus

      Re: Cyclists...

      There's lights to see by and lights to be seen by. I've had LED based equipment that was good on unlit roads, but it was never the cheap end of the range.

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