Traditional bulbs were gradually eliminated in Germany from 2009 onwards in order to cut energy consumption. LED technology prevailed against energy-saving and halogen bulbs as a highly efficient and therefore environmentally friendly alternative. One complaint often made in the past about LEDs was that they could only produce a cold, blue-tinged light, and that they were therefore not suitable for use in living spaces. Now that the technology has matured, they have become the leading artificial light source. Design classics in the field of decorative luminaires can also still be sold and operated with retrofit lamps that use LED technology and that fit all the common sockets.
Highly efficient and durable
Modern LEDs are available in the form of strips and tapes, retrofit lamps with screw bases for the E14 or E27 sockets, or high-performance LED modules that are fitted with individual LEDs. LED light sources with plug-in sockets replace incandescent and halogen bulbs. But it is worth keeping an eye on quality. High-quality bulbs can cut electricity costs by up to 90 per cent and boast a service life of up to 100,000 hours. The investment therefore usually pays off within a relatively short period of time. To achieve a specific colour effect in the room, it is important to pay attention to the description of the light colour in Kelvin (K): the higher the number, the greater the proportion of invigorating blue and the naturalness of the colour rendering. At around 2,700 Kelvin, the light from “warm white” LED bulbs is just as cosy as that given by incandescent bulbs in the past. For the workplace, LED lighting in “daylight white”, at around 6,000 Kelvin, is recommended.
Intelligent light for retailing, offices and the home
Thanks to their flexibility and efficiency, LED lighting is suitable for use anywhere – in homes, in offices and salesrooms, in workshops and factories, and outdoors. The technology is versatile and can be used as adjustable work lamps, dimmable home lighting or glare-free illumination in stores. Retailers can use illuminated shelves and displays to optimally present their products without damaging goods or causing colours to fade. Of course, modern LEDs can also be dimmed. Intelligent LED lighting systems even go a step further and allow users to customise their lights. It is possible to save light modes in furniture, with variable levels of brightness and light colours adjusted to your exact wishes, and control these via a switch, smartphone or remote control.
Illuminated furniture as highlights
A growing number of designers and interior architects are exploiting the various possibilities of LED technology in their work, illuminating chairs, beds, cupboards, stairways and outdoor seating with LED lights. LEDs in shelves, tables, stools, kitchen units and bathroom furniture are particularly popular. Illuminated furniture can work as subtle background lighting, but they are also suitable as striking luminescent pieces that serve as the focus of attention.
Small, environmentally friendly and with low heat build-up
LED lights are ideal for use in furniture manufacturing due to their small size and low heat build-up – this means high-quality lamps can be integrated in furniture without risk of fire. However, designers and manufacturers should ensure that the light is directed and integrated in a way that allows the LEDs to cool down automatically. Units are cooled by means of elements that transfer the waste heat out to the environment. It is important that the installation position does not prevent this process from happening. High-quality bulbs are also impact- and vibration-resistant, and they do not emit any UV or infrared radiation. They are also environmentally friendly because no poisonous materials are used in the manufacturing process. Furthermore, LED lamps can be connected using all kinds of materials – from wood or metal to plastic.
If, despite essentially being highly durable, LEDs stop working, there are a number of options when it comes to replacing them. Where the bulb is fully integrated in the lamp, it must be changed by the manufacturer. Readily accessible LED strips in shelves or container furniture are easy to exchange. Some pieces of furniture also have special openings that make the switch straightforward.
Qualities such as energy efficiency, compact size, robustness, easy installation and low heat build-up make LEDs an ideal functional element. The use of LED technology can upgrade furniture for the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, office and salesroom and even for outdoors.