Lighting for average Joe
Netherlands, 17th April 2010
Frankfurt is predominantly a professional light fair, like most fairs around the world. It is mainly attended by professional designers, traders and manufacturers. The general public is only represented by those with some keen interest in lighting somehow, but the average Joe generally stays away. Their knowledge and information about lighting is coming from the shops they buy their lights from and what they read in the daily magazines, etc.
Today I visited our local IKEA store (as you do sometimes in the weekend) and was obviously interested to see what it tells and sells to the public in terms of lighting nowadays. The store concept is great and in the past I have often bought stuff including lights! Needless to say that LED has arrived there as well…little bedside lamps, decorative table lamps, strip lights, it’s all there…but there is not much message. I assume that IKEA expects its customers to know what they want. But I must say that they are focused on energy saving lamps mainly, with mini compacts being the dominant lamp on sale for their fixtures. By doing so IKEA takes a responsible approach to reducing our carbon emissions.
One initiative caught my eye though…a solar driven LED desk lamp. Based on the same technology that drives our little table calculators IKEA presented their “Sunman”, a little LED desk lamp that is powered by solar cells integrated in the lamp base. No wires, no power required. IKEA advertises that for every lamp sold they will donate one to UNICEF so that needy children in refugee camps can continue to write, read and draw after sunset.
Though a laudable thought, I have mixed feelings about the commercial (and psychological) motives, as it creates some sort of moral guilt to buy such lamp.