Objects that touch us must be tangible. That calls for greater naturalness in terms of materials, texture and colour.
There are two faces to luminaires in the urban environment. At night, their intangible impact and the nature of their light dominate; during the day, they exist as spatial design objects. In a successful urban lighting concept, these two personae exist in harmony with the atmosphere that characterises the area, the practical and emotional needs of the residents, and the expectations of visitors. The district, the quarter, the neighbourhood have established themselves as the ideal frame of reference for identity-forming light planning of this type. The aim: to create unique atmospheres where people can spend quality time. We achieve that through lighting in a vast range of versions in terms of both look and lighting effect.
Advances in LED technology and optics allow us to achieve increasingly differentiated lighting effects, while at the same time regaining control over luminaire design: it’s an opportunity to liberate the cityscape from the visual chaos that reigns in many places. We see colour and materiality as strong design elements in terms of expressing local identity and qualities on a sensory level. Once the district is perceived as a comfortable place to live, the horizons for diversity open up, as has long been a given in interior design.
Metals such as steel and aluminium – the most common materials used for poles and luminaires in the urban landscape – are generally powdercoated to protect against corrosion. With a comprehensive colour palette available, users have every opportunity to steer the design, from harmonious colour tones to high-contrast accents. This can be used in addition with various reflector colours such as gold or as a block colour for the housing. The diversity of finishes includes metallic surfaces in tones such as bronze, gold or rosé which are created through a process of vaporisation. These surfaces lend the products a high-end look, and interact perfectly with their environment.
It is still unusual to see concrete luminaires, even though it is the most commonly used construction material in modern architecture. Concrete is something of a chameleon: depending on how it is processed, it can form either rough, or smooth cool surfaces, and it can be colouredmatched to its surroundings. In its typical manifestation as slightly structured exposed concrete, it is plain, simple, and radiates calm. Colour accents such as golden reflectors can be used to create a charming contrast with the cool of the concrete. From a practical perspective, this is a robust, durable and rugged material. In the cityscape, concrete elements are viewed less as technology and more as architecture – perfect for a clear, iconic urban landscape.
Just as modern planning concepts are again embracing nature as an integral element of urban space, wood is also experiencing a renaissance. Its advantages extend far beyond the functional: wood arouses emotions, it emanates a sense of warmth and naturalness, it is relaxing, and at the same time creates a vibrant atmosphere. Wood binds CO₂, produces oxygen as it forms, and integrates beautifully with its surroundings. As a material for luminaires and poles, wood is particularly suitable for living spaces that are in harmony with nature and that are designed to make people feel good. To get the right technical properties, careful choice of the wood type, its origins and the right surface treatment are crucial. This protects the wood from the impacts of weather, ensures a long lifespan, as it also affects the appearance: for example with glaze effects that lighten or darken the natural colour tone, or take it in a cooler or warmer direction without masking the wood’s natural grain and organic character.
Glass and polycarbonate
We use glass to protect our lighting units. Its high light transmittance makes glass – this amorphously solidified melting of minerals – not just a favourite construction material for architects; its good refraction index means it is used as a functional optical material in lighting technology – think lenses, filters or glass covers. Researchers and engineers have successfully overcome its proverbial fragility. Tempered glass elements in luminaires can withstand the highest of loads – and are easily recyclable at the end of the product’s life. As an alternative to glass, we use visually identical transparent plastics such as acrylic glass (PMMA) or polycarbonate (PC). Their advantage is that they are lighter, more robust and, as thermoplastics, they can be diecast to create complex components, which in luminaires can serve as both visual and structural elements. This multifunctionality, coupled with type-pure recycling opportunities, ensures optimal use of valuable resources.
We selected some of our favourite projects to showcase how materiality can add value and depth to carefully curated spaces
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