Wood in design is a perennial favourite for its warmth and the feeling of being closer to nature and yet, it seems to feature only minimally in light fittings – why is that?
Designers have been reluctant to incorporate wood into lighting for several reasons. For one, the bulb in history used to be known firstly for heating that gives out subsidiary light as an additional benefit. The lamp design had to accommodate for that by not making wood the material of first choice. The main legacy of the light bulb however still remains in the prevailing shapes of lamps that can still be found in millions of homes around the world. The shape of the bulb with its spherical light distribution is however not favourable for incorporating into a (wooden) surface where it just looks clunky and out of place.
The introduction of LEDs opened up new options for designers. Unlike the traditional bulb, LEDs are ideally placed as a surface light due to the small size and high light output – was it not for the heat production. Although a lot more efficient in terms of energy conversion, LEDs still produce a lot of heat on a very small area and incorporating them into a wooden surface is therefore quite challenging – steel, glass, etc. on the other hand give designers much less of a headache.
So do we have to kiss good bye to the idea of wooden lamps? No, because OLEDs are out and available now! OLED as light source has the potential to revolutionise your lighting designs by applying them not only wood but also other sensitive materials such as fabric or silk. This is possible because OLED emits light and hence heat over a much larger area than the LED and can therefore be applied without any additional heat sink. The OLED, with its thin and flexible shape, is ideally placed as a surface light, having the additional benefit of emitting a soft and naturally diffusive light that matches perfectly with matt surfaces; wood for instance. Finally, OLED lighting is closest to sunlight, and wood as a natural material can highlight this feature even further.
Now you can freely create the feeling of nature in your designs without the hindrance of the past, so what are you waiting for?
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