Made where, by whom?
Singapore, 18th February 2011
Like cars the world of lighting manufacturing is an intricate web of product and component origins, licensing and copyrights. “Made in country X” does not really mean it is made in country X. The only thing it says is that the light fittings’ final assembly (and possibly) packaging was done in country X and exported from there. Components and manufacturing processes may well have been done in other countries. I think I mentioned before that China now applies some reverse psychology my having their final products assembled in Europe so they can label their products “made in France” rather than “made in China”, even though the main components and manufacturing is still done in China. The added benefit is that in the process they can “justify” I higher price than what they could with the “made in China” stigma attached to the product through the perceived better quality…
Then there is the branding. Does the brand “Y” mean that it is actually manufactured by brand “Y”…? Not really. While we are mostly familiar in the market with the well-known brands there is a whole world of so called OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) out there. In other words a manufacturer that manufactures for or sells light fittings to leading brands on demand. Ever wondered why some products look so similar eventhough they are from different brands…because they are. Manufactured by the same OEM just with another brand sticker on it!
Being involved in a lighting tender process confronts you with all these issues. Am I seeing a real brand X product or is it a brand X made by manufacturer Y from country Z? Even a certificate of origin may not give you the clarity if it does not specify the origin of the components! It then comes to the reliability and reputation of the company you are dealing with. Reputable companies will give you that warranty and peace of mind that you need as a designer.
In Light Watch today a pay tribute to the many lighting manufacturers and there tireless efforts in bringing us the latest lighting products. I have been fortunate to have visited many lighting manufacturers all over the world, from Europe to China. The quality of the light fittings is generally reflected by the quality of the factory!
Light Watch 35: The IGuzzini head office in Italy