Dyson Sets Sights on LED Lighting

Cu-Beam up-light (silver) hero.jpg

You probably know the Dyson brand for smartly designed vacuum cleaners, bladeless fans or hand driers, or perhaps the man behind the company, James Dyson, who earnestly delivers his pitch about the principles of cyclonic separation on his vacuum commercials.

Yet if you dug deep at NeoCon, scouring the far corners of the temporary exhibitions on the seventh floor, you might have stumbled upon the brand in the Merchandise Mart. It matters because the company was showing off two new products designed by his son, Jake Dyson, who set his design sights on two LED lighting products — one a task light and another a new take on a commercial ceiling light fixture.

It also matters because these are the first products from a new Dyson division, Dyson Professional, which promises to create other commercial products as well, which could include products your company makes. The company wants the world to know that it isn’t just a floor care company. It is a wellness company, said Meridith Ewers, associate marketing manager.

Dyson designers are hard at work creating its Dyson Professional brand and products at its Chicago office, in the same building as Groupon that was built as the Montgomery Ward Catalog House, a fitting mix of Dyson history and young professionals in a hip office setting.

The company’s aim is to create products that will revolutionize everything at the desk to the board room, said Ewers. “Dyson really is a technology company, not just floor care, but really about wellness,” she said.

Cu-Beam Up is a reinvention of how indirect lighting can be used.

Yet the story of Dyson’s new lighting products begins thousands of miles away in the U.K., where Jake Dyson, one of James Dyson’s three children, set to work on redesigning the LED light. Not surprisingly, he works in a similar fashion as his father, ignoring what products are supposed to look like or how they are supposed to function, instead designing them to work best with an elegant form that follows.

Jake Dyson

Jake Dyson

Jake Dyson focused his work on one of the stickiest issues with LED lights — keeping them cool. His breakthrough was creating a closed copper pipe in the arm of the LED light that is filled with water. As the LED light heats up, it creates water vapor in the pipe, which pushes the head down the length of it, replacing it with water. The water and water vapor creates a circle as it heats up, constantly pulling the heat away from the light and dispersing it. Dyson calls it heat pipe technology.

The CSYS light is available in a clamp, desk and floor version and in silver, white and black. It uses eight individual LEDs that provide 648 lux per square meter. The form is simple with a base, stem and arm that move through three axis slide motion that perfectly counter balances the light. A dimmer allows the light to go from 100 percent power to 10 percent.

After Jake Dyson worked out the task lamp, he set out to create a commercial LED lighting product. The company found that 60 percent of commercial lighting still uses florescent bulb fixtures.

The science behind Cu-Beam is similar to CSYS in that it cools the LEDs using the heat pipe technology. On the Cu-Beam, six copper pipes are used to cool the Cree LEDs. A special custom-made lens directs the light to create a pyramid of illumination. Trim blades attached to the lens can be used to further direct the light where it is needed, providing light for a conference table, for example, that falls directly on the table itself.

The Cu-Beam’s efficiency means offices need fewer light fixtures, but actually get more light. And that cleans up the look of the office ceiling.

Cu-Beam Up is a reinvention of how indirect lighting can be used. With traditional up lighting, the fixture must be suspended low from the ceiling to the right lighting. With Cu-Beam Up, it can be suspended just 16 inches from the ceiling, which makes it much less intrusive, especially when it is used above a conference table. Cu-Beam comes in white, silver and black as well.

Dyson manufacturers everything on both lights (except for the LEDs themselves), which means the company has control over quality. The lights are made at the Dyson plant in Malaysia. “When we take ownership of the components, especially the driver, we can reduce the flicker that can occur in LEDs,” Ewers said.

Like everything Dyson creates, the LEDs were designed with a lot of thought. Jake Dyson and his team worked on the LEDs for 10 years. The company already has a network for selling its Cu-Beam and sells its CSYS online.

And like most Dyson products, the LEDs are priced at a premium, but compare favorably to other LED task lamps on the market. The clap and desk CSYS retails for $699. The floor version of CSYS sells for $849.

LED lighting is an entry product into other office designs Dyson Professional is working on. Though the company is tight-lipped about what comes next, expect other office products from the company. BoF

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