From intelligent light fixtures to 3D printing to recyclables rendered as luxuries, an industry maverick illuminates bright new directions in lighting design and technology.
Light fixtures appear to be making a dash toward sentience. One of the lighting world’s emerging trends harmonizes circadian rhythms, according to Charles Lydall, pioneer Canadian lighting designer and Founder of Eurolite in Toronto.
“We can enable your bathroom in the morning to have cool, white light with blue tones, which is energizing. Then the colours of the bulbs change automatically during the day. Come back in the evening, the home’s aura is yellow, warm, and you feel relaxed,” says the one-time electrical engineer.
Lydall can’t emphasize the value of originality enough. Now surrounded by a show floor full of fixtures, Lydall humbly entered into the industry 30 years ago when he manufactured the first housing for recessed lights in his garage. “Maybe I should have stayed in manufacturing! But I’m design-motivated, not brand-loyal,” he explains.
Since then, Lydall hasn’t left the bleeding edge of the industry. He seeks out and champions new lighting products that enhance homeowners’ moods and influence their motivation more than ever before. With such products, Lydall and his designers produce sophisticated atmospheres for clients.
Lydall sees the fashion world adopting this genie-in-a-bottle technology: At the press of a button, the lighting in a dressing room can simulate indoor daytime light, another button changes it to evening light, and another to natural outdoor light. Seeing how clothes’ textures and colours look in their ultimate context will give fashionistas an extra edge when assembling their outfits.
Always the inventor, Lydall can’t wait to get his hands on something he says will turn the design and manufacturing world on its head. “We’re now entering the world of 3-D printing. They’re going to be printing things with metals, plastics, everything,” he says. “If you can dream of it, and you can draw it, that machine will make it.”
Invention and renewal are in Lydall’s bones and are a unique part of Eurolite’s menu of services; it is the only store in Toronto that repairs lighting onsite. Repair shops went out of vogue when inexpensive manufacturing and shipping whetted our appetites for the disposable. Lately, such shops are enjoying a resurgence thanks to a more thoughtful style of consumerism and a return to the appreciation of craftsmanship. It’s a tradition Lydall will always stay faithful to, regardless of trends.
On the eco-friendly front, energy-saving LED bulbs will continue to drop in price and go up in performance, he declares, which he’s looking forward to, especially because of their potential to ignite innovation.
“LEDs are completely cool to the touch, so why not experiment with mounting them inside of wood trim? So far that hasn’t been possible since wood can’t accommodate most bulbs – they’re too hot.”
Lydall predicts lighting designs of the future will be made with more creatively recycled and environmentally-friendly materials since “we can’t keep using new materials forever; we have to leave something for the next generation. Think of all the different materials out there. Things like bamboo and wood can be reprocessed the way aluminum and steel are now.” A New Zealand designer, David Trubridge, astounded Lydall by transforming recycled Coca-Cola bottles into a luxurious felt for home furnishings. Lydall can’t wait to bring products with that type of spirit to his clients.
Photography by Victor